This post is sponsored by Lexington Law.
The job market is hotter than ever and competition for top talent is tough. In order to stand out as an organization and recruit employees, it’s important to know what motivates and drives them. It’s also essential to offer financial benefits and special programs to reach millennials. With so many options out there, knowing and offering incentives these employees want will not only help you recruit but also retain the talent in the long term. Whether you’re an employee looking for additional benefits or in a decision-making position within your organization, here are benefits to consider advocating for.
Student Loan Repayment
According to the U.S Federal Reserve, 44.7 million Americans have student loan debt. This means that many employees not only need to make enough for living expenses, but also have to cover the cost of their student loans for the next several years. And many of these monthly payments can be several hundred if not thousands of dollars which can be very stressful to figure out how to make ends meet.
Some organizations are adding student loan repayment as part of their benefits package. This package may be in exchange for years of service within the organization or start immediately after the first day of work. Knowing that your loan will be partially paid for by your employer in addition to a generous paycheck is very attractive for this generation. It also shows that your organization understands the struggles they face and wants to take an active role in helping them out.
Millennials are having kids much later in life and are opting to care for animals. Some are choosing the location of their apartment or home based on the distance to local dog parks and the amenities in the local area. While health insurance is important (and we’ll discuss this later), a huge perk for a pet owner is working for an organization that offers pet insurance. The cost of owning an animal is high and anything to lower the costs of care is a huge incentive.
Some organizations have even taken this a step further and allowed their employees to bring their animals to work. In one of my previous roles, many of my colleagues and supervisors brought their small dogs to the office. This was such a treat for both the dog owner and the rest of the office. Other organizations have started “take your pet to workday,” offer puppy leave, and allow the use of sick days to take care of ill animals.
Millennials want to learn how to better manage their budget and increase their credit score but don’t always know how or who to ask. Unfortunately, financial literacy is not something that everyone has and millennials (among other generations) are finding themselves in debt and with low credit scores. Providing the opportunity to work with a professional to review their credit report and help create a plan to repair their score is something that helps organizations stand out. It shows that you care about their financial wellbeing and success both in and outside their work.
The key is to set them up with an option outside of your organization for a non-biased, professional, and confidential perspective. The professionals at Lexington Law work with their customers to review their score and report, identify areas for improvement, and discuss repair options. They would be an excellent and valued option for your employees.
One of the biggest factors of retention in millennials is the opportunity to learn and grow. This means, they want to be able to gain a new skill set, experience or knowledge and not be stagnant in their roles. While some professional development opportunities are free, others can cost. Knowing that your employer will help pay can be a deciding factor on whether or not to take the job.
Providing the financial benefit of continuing education credit, attending conferences, and pursuing a higher-level degree are sought after opportunities. When millennials can’t see a future in terms of skill building, it’s easy for them to jump ship because there are so many other options out there. If your organization doesn’t have a large budget, start small with internal programs and low-cost options then branch out from there. And ask your current employees what type of professional development interests them to get a real time gauge on what you can offer.
As part of many benefits packages, companies not only offer a 401k (or another retirement plan), but also offer matching programs. This incentive is huge and is often one of the first things millennials look for when looking through what your organization has to offer. Matching programs range in terms of percentage and start date. Some begin on the first day of work while others take two years for employees to be fully vested. The key is to review what options make sense for your organization and understand that this can be a make it or break it for some millennial employees.
Choice of health insurance and wellness incentives
According to a study by Blue Cross Blue Shield, 83% of millennials consider themselves in good or excellent health. With this, they’re not looking to break the bank on super expensive insurance for an occasional doctor visit and medication for their once a year sinus infection. When companies offer the opportunity to choose from more than one plan at different price points, it helps give the choice to the employee to either save or spend the money on this option.
Some companies are also opting to pay for gym memberships or put money towards deductibles for healthy employees determined by an annual physical. A few of my previous employers also provided free cholesterol testing, nutritionist appointments, and wellness programs for weight loss. These were all a big hit as it helped to lower our cost as an employee for services we were already using or wanted to try out. And the flexibility in options allowed each employee to make their own choice based on their personal needs as we weren’t stuck with an expensive plan.
Getting top talent is not easy, especially when you’re not offering the financial benefits employees are looking for. Millennials want a fair salary, but that’s not the only benefit they’re after. Providing matching programs, choice of medical plans, professional development, student loan repayment and financial education is important. And by connecting them with the professionals at Lexington Law, they will get the individual help they need to better understand and repair their credit score. Help they need, want, and will greatly appreciate.
She provides training, consulting, and speaking services to organizations all over the world. She has an MEd in Social and Comparative Analysis in Education from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. Her work helps to bridge communication gaps across generations, job functions, and geographies, and she has worked with organizations ranging from non-profits to multi-billion-dollar enterprises. She has delivered a TEDx talk on authentic workplace communication, and has been featured in media outlets including Forbes, ABC, FOX, and CBS. Her book, Humanize Your Workplace (Career Press), is set to release next year.
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