Millennials have a bit of a bad rap. They're sometimes referred to as the most entitled generation ever, and viewed as immature pseudo-adults who were raised on participation trophies. Regardless of what you and I think of millennials, we’re probably going to have to hire and work with them at some point. When it comes to hiring millennials, we’ve all heard that they want perks like pingpong tables and free drinks, snacks and meals. While those things may be appealing (to all of us, if we’re honest), it’s worth exploring not just which perks matter most to the new generation, but also why we bother to offer perks at all.
So why—other than the fact that we’ve been told we have to—do we even care about offering perks to entice millennial workers?
It’s not actually a novel concept. It is incredibly expensive to hire and train an employee, only to have him or her depart for greener pastures in short order. It’s far more cost effective to hire and retain good workers. Offering valuable perks can play a big part when hiring millennials—especially if they’re the right perks. Happy employees may stick around longer and can be far more loyal. If you're thinking about hiring millennials, here are some of the perks they are looking for.
It’s a big old world, and millennials know it. They also know there’s no reason why many tasks can’t be completed while wearing pajamas.
To offer the flexibility millennials want, you may want to explore offering flexible workplaces and times. Consider helping employees set up home offices. Unless you need an employee to handle a customer face-to-face between certain hours, it may be beneficial to offer your staff the chance to work from home occasionally.
2. Shared Values
Millennials tend to flock to companies that reflect their values and provide opportunities to make a difference in the world. Whether it’s designating a portion of profits to worthy causes or simply doing business in an ethical way, millennials care about the big picture. Understanding that the best jobs aren’t solely about the paycheck plays into the millennial decision-making process, and they know that real passion comes from finding fulfillment in their work.
Whether it’s a company-wide fitness challenge or a team-building retreat, millennials often want to feel a sense of connection—that the workplace is a community with shared experiences and goals. The sense of loyalty that can be created when co-workers are connected can be enormously powerful.
4. Support for Family Life
Though some millennials aren’t yet parents, many could be thinking about what they'll need when they are ready to start a family. They may not be willing to settle for a workplace that doesn’t leave space for family.
From providing backup childcare to supplementing a college savings account, companies that find ways to help employees balance work and life can be appealing to millennials. Whether it’s family days at the local amusement park or on-site childcare options, helping employees feel like they don’t have to choose between being a good parent and a good employee can help translate to more loyal and productive staff.
Fringe benefits can be important, but money matters too. It’s not just a hefty paycheck that millennials are looking for. A comprehensive benefits package with traditional health and dental care programs and retirement options can factor in, as well as less traditional options.
Benefits like student loan repayment, gym memberships and corporate discounts on phone service can help make a difference in employees’ quality of life and financial health. At the end of the day, employees want to be able to not just survive, but to thrive in their positions.
This is the generation of the participation trophy, after all. It’s not enough to simply sign a paycheck. Many millennials may crave respect and recognition. They want to feel like they’re a valuable member of a team. Taking the time to make sure your younger staff members feel appreciated may help pay dividends.
It’s easy to paint all millennials with a broad brush and lament the lack of work ethic and silly expectations about fun workplaces. But to ignore the unique demands of an entire generation is shortsighted. By figuring out what really matters to millennials, you may be able to build a workforce that does have a strong work ethic and one that does have a sense of loyalty to the company. Millennials are the future. Figuring out how to get the best from them is looking ahead and planning how you’ll shape that future for the better.
For more tips on building a strong company culture, access our exclusive guide by author and leadership expert Jon Gordon: Build a Winning Organizational Culture.
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