In a recent poll of 5,000 millennial professionals, approximately 75% indicated that they’d be open to new job opportunities. Among the reasons cited were dissatisfaction with their career path, the desire for a new role and dissatisfaction with their current employer’s benefits. It’s a far cry from how the workplace was a few decades ago — back then, job-hopping was relatively rare.
The Internet has made it easier than ever to monitor and lockdown potential job opportunities. The rise of the gig economy and contract work means some professionals never commit to a single company.
Above all, however, it’s the result of a different attitude towards the workplace. The workplace has undergone a fundamental shift. Old concepts like loyalty and the corporate ladder are more or less obsolete.
“Millennials have highlighted that money alone isn’t enough to generate loyalty,” says Bretton Putter, CEO of company culture consultant CultureGene. “Reframe loyalty so that you think about how you can create high levels of engagement and invite people to be themselves and bring their full skill sets. Companies need to create an environment where their employees can grow, develop, self-actualize and fulfill their potential.”
With the above in mind, even attracting top talent requires that your business do more than offer a few basic fringe benefits. Stuff like healthcare and a GRRSP are table stakes. You need to offer fringe benefits which demonstrate you’re committed to the health, well-being and professional success of your staff.
Paternity leave and parental assistance: The idea that a child’s mother should be the only parent to take an active role in raising them needs to go back to the 1950s where it belongs. Parenting is an equal-opportunity pursuit. Providing paid paternity leave alongside paid maternity leave should be a given — yet many businesses still don’t do it. Additionally, consider providing resources such as stipends for diapers and formula and free daycare.
Financial planning and management: It’s no secret that today’s employee is living in financially-volatile times. Most millennials are keenly aware that their financial situation isn’t exactly enviable, thanks to exorbitant housing prices and crushing student debt. Your business can help its employees with that.
To start with, consider providing student loan repayment assistance. In a survey carried out by financial benefits firm Gradifi, 45% of respondents indicated that student loan repayment was the single most compelling benefit an employer could offer them. That alone could put you above your competition in the job market. You might also consider providing free financial planning services to help staff better manage and invest their paychecks. Very few people enjoy doing taxes. An employer who handles that or provides them with an easy way to do so would be a huge draw.
Lifestyle perks: Your office probably has a kitchen and a break room. Most do. But what’s in that break room? A fridge, probably. A coffee machine, definitely. Maybe a sink and some cupboards. Why not keep that fridge regularly stocked with food so that staff doesn’t have to bring their own lunches. Or better yet, provide each employee with a lunch budget. Don’t underestimate how much your staff will appreciate being provided with free food and drinks in the workplace. It’s a huge boon, especially given that many millennials struggle with debt.
You should take this a step further. Offer flexible scheduling. Consider providing a four-day workweek, or investing in a wellness budget that allows staff to maintain a gym membership alongside their career. All of these considerations help your staff pursue a better work-life balance.
There’s this toxic idea that millennials are somehow lazy, entitled or selfish and that there’s no point in striving for their loyalty because they don’t have any. This is a false narrative and one peddled by people who either cannot or will not understand the millennial mindset. Millennials don’t want your business to move heaven and earth for them. They want you to be accountable and treat them like people. At the end of the day, that should be the core idea behind how your business operates.