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Forget High Salaries: 6 Benefits Millennials Want Now

ByMegan Webb-Morgan, Last Modified
Feb 19, 2013
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According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees will only spend 1.5 years with their current employer.

Finding and replacing your employees over such a short span of time can put strain on your business, lower productivity, and decrease the quality of work that you generate.

When it comes to your Millennial or Generation Y employees -- the fastest growing group of workers in the labor force -- you need to take proactive measures, and that means offering the kinds of benefits that they value most. (Hint: it isn't salary).

Related: Support your employees' long term success with a 401k from one of our vendors

Feedback

Gone are the days of the quarterly performance review. According to a survey by Achievers, 80% of Millennials prefer to receive feedback in real-time. They want open, honest, and timely communication regarding their performance, and an opportunity to ask questions and receive encouragement as needed.

Recognition

In conjunction with immediate feedback, 84% of Millennials also want their employee recognition to occur immediately. Rather than being based on seniority or length of tenure at the company, they prefer that recognition programs or rewards be based on performance.

Related: Expert Advice on Making Work Fun Again

Career Advice

Millennials know that they may not stay with your company long, especially if they don't feel like they are being offered valuable experience and opportunities. Show them that you are about the progression of their career by offering:

  • Stay interviews: Take proactive measures to ensure that your Millennial employees are engaged with your company and benefitting from their experience.
  • Job coaching: Through job coaching and mentoring, you can offer up that experience to your employees to help them work more effectively and advance their career.

Teamwork

Johnson Controls found that Generation Y places high value on teamwork and collaborative processes. 41% of Gen Y wants access to team space within their offices -- but not just traditional conference tables or meeting rooms. 32% prefer "breakout spaces" -- flexible open spaces within the office that can be utilized in a variety of ways, from formal meetings to informal group work.

Related:What Motivates Employees? 4 Keys to Success

Vacation

The average employee in the US receives 10 paid vacation days during the first year of their employment; the number of paid vacation days rises to 15 after 5 years with the company. This intransigent method of allotting vacation doesn't mesh with the values of Millennials. This has recently been recognized by progressive companies like Netflix, which offers employees 25 to 30 paid vacation days per year.

Flexibility in vacation policies is of high value to Gen Y. They prefer to have their performance be based on the work they get done, rather than the hours they spend at a desk. 56% prefer to choose when to work, and 79% want to be mobile rather than static.

Eco-Friendly Workplace

Millennials grew up watching Captain Planet and worrying about the state of the ozone layer, so it's no small surprise that 96% of them want their workplace to be environmentally responsible. Incorporate eco-friendly elements into your workplace by encouraging telecommuting and carpooling, promoting recycling, and installing energy-efficient equipment and lighting.

  • Although some of these changes may seem like too much expense for too little gain, they can have long-lasting impacts not only on your workforce culture, but your bottom line as well. For example, switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs uses 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs.

Related:6 Strategies for Green IT

The Achievers survey found that advancement opportunities and interesting work rated as more important to Gen Y workers than salary. Mentorship, benefits, and company culture also rated highly on the list. Offering your Millennial employees these types of intangible benefits can have a positive effect on employee satisfaction and increase your retention rates.

Megan Webb-Morgan
Megan Webb-Morgan
See Megan Webb-Morgan's Profile
Megan is a writer with 3 years of writing, editing, blogging, and social media experience. She's been an author on sites such as AllBusiness, Business2Community and Virtual-Strategy. Topics of interest include: business technology, employee engagement and small business best practices. She has a Master's degree in history from SUNY Brockport and received her B.A. degree at SUNY Geneso. Megan is an East Coast original who recently moved to the San Diego area. On the weekends, she enjoys spending time with her husband.
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