With the rise of a new generation of employees that all have different motivators in the workplace, remaining competitive and retaining talented staff requires that employers offer more innovative benefits and perks.
A paycheck and a matching 401k plan are not enough as millennials with high expectations for quick affluence flood the workforce.
Boxed Wholesale is among the companies that have responded to the worker demand that employers take on a more paternal role in their lives. CEO Chieh Huang announced that the shopping startup would pay up to $20,000 for any full-time employee’s wedding expenses. He also pledged to donate $1 million in cash and shares personally to pay for the cost of tuition for his estimated 100 employees’ children.
Practichem CEO Nick DeMarco has promised to lease a brand new car for all company employees as a way to attract and retain talent once Tesla releases its latest model.
The lab equipment supplier only employs 16 people but is planning to hire nine more workers. But expensive perk systems like sports cars and pre-paid in some cases don’t return much benefit.
Instead, employees want to feel connected to where they work, appreciated for what they contribute and hear feedback on how they can improve.
Some even expect to see benefits that combine social good with work. For example, Barney & Barney started a volunteer challenge last year for staff to volunteer in the community. Employees can earn some $15,500 in grants to award to a non-profit of their choice by logging their volunteer hours.
Because workers want different benefits depending on where they are in the life cycle, one type of perk won’t please all.
For fitness buffs, fitness trackers are playing a bigger role in corporate wellness programs with employers nationwide expected by 2018 to incorporate 13 million wearable fitness tracking devices into work-based wellness initiatives connected to financial incentives, according to ABI Research.
UnitedHealthcare employees can earn up to $1,095 per year by meeting certain goals for their number of daily steps monitored with wearable devices.
While healthcare and 401(k) programs are the most important benefits an employer can offer, increasingly workers want more and employers are giving them what they want.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Fidelity recently announced student loan repayment benefit plans.
Some 89% of job seekers with debt believe companies should offer student loan repayment and 10% ranked student loan repayment higher than paid vacation as the most important benefit, according to a national survey by Beyond, a career resource.
As a result, companies offering innovative benefits such as student loan reimbursement may have a leg up on the competition “Student loan reimbursement could help retain millennials who have been famously less loyal and more likely to switch jobs than previous generations,” said Joe Weinlick, senior vice president of marketing with Beyond.
Traditionally, companies offered cash-based reward systems but customizing is allowing companies to scale cost and give employees what they want to feel invested and appreciated.
5 Tips For Launching Perks That Work
- Remember that perks and benefits reflect the company culture. New professionals want to align themselves with companies that have a positive social impact. Some 45% of millennials prefer a job that is beneficial to society than 27% that want a job that simply pays well, according to McGraw-Hill Education’s The Grad Gap study.
- Consider employee-controlled benefit systems. Workers are eager to take control of their lives and find a balance between work and life. Two-thirds want to work from home, 36% would choose telecommuting over a pay raise and 37% would take a pay cut of 10% if they could work from home, according to Global Work Place Analytics.
- Customizing reward systems can help companies scale cost and give employees what they want to feel invested and appreciated. Non-cash perks can include kitchen appliances, merchandise, gym memberships, cruises, weekend travel, gift certificates and shopping sprees fueled with gift cards.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Baby Boomers stay on a job an average of five years compared to seven years for Generation X and 18 months for Millennials. Employers most successful at retaining millennial talent are those that offer international assignments, highly visible projects, leadership development training and sponsorship.
- Explore joint benefit programs that link retirement plan participation or insurance policies with rewards. For example, workers at participating corporations who add John Hancock’s Vitality benefit to their life insurance policy can receive savings off their grocery purchases up to $600 a year when they use their store loyalty card to make healthy food choices in participating stores, such as Wal-Mart.
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