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Workplace Perks That Millennials Expect

January 07, 2016

It's no surprise the workplace has changed drastically over the last few years, and shows no chance of slowing down anytime soon. With millennials predicted to make up 75 percent of the ​workforce by 2025, ​there are a new set of workplace “perks” expected from employers, and ​they aren't just about money. ​

So what are millennials really interested in if it isn’t their salary? Let’s take a look at what motivates millennials in the workplace. 

Flexible Schedule 

What has become the norm in recent years is offering more flexible scheduling to employees. This includes options like working from home a few days a week to “summer Fridays” which allow employees to leave early throughout the warmer months and beyond. Millennials don’t view flexibility with their work schedules as a fun bonus anymore, it has become somewhat of a requirement. Employers are re-evaluating what the normal workweek is and should be within their company. Here are some of the most common adjustments:

Flexible start time. Give employees a time slot when they must be to work. If you want them there at 8 a.m. but need them there by 8:30, give them the 30-minute grace period. The early birds will continue to arrive at 8 a.m. and the others may arrive at 8:15 or 8:30 but might be less stressed.

Help reduce the stress already inherent in their morning hustle and they might reward you with extra hours of focused work time. 

Undefined lunch hour. If employees have an hour for lunch, trust them to be responsible with it and take it when they need it. If they are restricted to an 11-to-noon timeframe, they might not be able to use the time as effectively as they need it. Some employees prefer to schedule appointments, run errands, exercise or do things other than eat lunch during their lunch hour. This is ok. It is their free time and by allowing them to use the time however they need to, they’ll be able to focus on the task at hand once they are back.

Additional PTO

Paid time off (PTO) is a common perk for employees in the workforce and is meant to continue to serve as an even greater benefit as individuals continue their careers. However, today this particular perk is taking a turn. Companies are beginning to offer options such as unlimited time off throughout the year to extended opportunities to ensure employees are feeling happier with the right amount of work-life balance. Examples include: social media giant Twitter deciding against tracking PTO, or that the innovative auto dealer, CarMax, offering unlimited time off to create a healthy work-life balance. If done right, employees will begin to feel like they are in control of their time and use it when they need it. 

Some organizations that employ a wide range of generational employees offer a high number of paid days off with the option to sell back the unused vacation time. This benefits all employees as millennials receive their extra R&R and Gen Xers are rewarded for working more days in the year. Companies moving toward these new PTO arrangements understand that Millennials want an environment that isn’t necessarily focused on total time worked, but instead rewards equality and performance. 

Learning Opportunities 

The millennials today value additional learning opportunities that will strengthen their skills and nurture their overall development. This generation grew up with the World Wide Web, using it to learn and take advantage of what the world had to offer through emerging online technology. This is something employers should realize helped shape their employees’ upbringing, friendships and educational journey. In high school, Facebook helped them locate and learn about their soon-to-be college roommates, Google and online databases helped them write their papers, TripAdvisor and Yelp helped them plan their honeymoon and WebMD helped them remedy their first-born’s ailments. Whether a company offers its own training sessions and programs, or sends employees to seminars, classes and conferences, they need to be given the ability to gather, absorb and put to use new tips, strategies and industry trends. Keep an eye out for those opportunities whenever possible, and encourage your employees to take these opportunities to further their knowledge. It is in their nature to return from the learning experience and share the new information.

Health & Wellness Options

Workplace health and wellness perks are also a growing trend. Millennials have ignited the move toward organic health options, farm-to-table restaurants and local niche brands, so it is important to acknowledge and reflect these values in their workplace. Knowing millennials’ concerns about nutrition and food opens up the conversation for employers on how to offer these benefits to their employees. Ways to effectively reach their generation in this area is to understand what motivates them and make being healthy easy and convenient. 

  • Provide employees with gym memberships at a reduced rate
  • Offer to pay 25 percent of any marathons, triathlons, charity walks or other athletic events in which they participate
  • Encourage going on short walks outside the office in place of seated meetings 
  • Create onsite health and fitness programs
  • Encourage employees to join in Fitbit, Fitness Pal or other mobile app competitions
  • Offer fresh fruit sporadically in the mornings
  • Purchase a high counter or bar-height table for employees to have standing meetings

These advancements will help to balance work/life needs that millennials today are seeking. 

Fun for Everyone

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like to have fun? And of all generations, millennials are looking for a work environment that offers just that. With 88% of millennials actively seeking this, employers need to start thinking of ways to relieve everyday work stress and encourage them to connect with their peers in new ways. Whether that be having space for employees to eat together over lunch, organizing company picnics and BBQ’s, or creative projects that allow employees to be innovative on their own (employers may be surprised with what they come up with) offering these opportunities will make the workplace that much more enjoyable.  

Benefits First, Perks Second

Unconventional perks will help retain workers, create a unique culture and improve environment, but top-of-the-line employee benefits will attract serious employees. Make sure the business has solid employee benefits to offer and then start thinking about the additional perks! Since your employees count on you for current and future benefits, let Farm Bureau’s employee benefits options help you retain your best talent.