People want perks — and not just casual Fridays. In fact, in today’s job market, business professionals and entrepreneurs have to continually adjust their benefits in order to be at all competitive in attracting the right personnel.
With that in mind, do you understand what benefits are currently eye-catching to younger professionals? Are you offering everything you can to draw top talent to your workplace — so they want to stay with your company for the long term?
To inspire you with possibilities, here’s a look at eight creative benefits that matter to the younger workforce.
- Help with student loans. Front of mind for most younger professionals is less retirement, and more paying off costly student loans. When you are saddled with tens of thousands of dollars to pay, repayment assistance is incredibly attractive. Think of it as the flip side of tuition reimbursement. While helping team members pursue graduate degrees is definitely a time-tested perk with benefits for employee and employer, assisting with existing school bills can be even better. It speaks to a more immediate concern. It is also less commonly offered. Be the brand that provides student loan aid, and you could help set yourself apart in the eyes of applicants.
- Flexible work options. Ask the younger workforce what they most want from an employer, and an overwhelming majority will likely say flexibility. This includes permission to work from home on occasion, and being able to adjust hours to fit other life demands. Making it possible for personnel to work remotely and/or with flexible schedules is a huge asset. Don’t feel like you have to go full-on round-the-clock telecommuting, either. Even offering a few work-from-home days a week can be a game-changer. Other options: summer hours (such as Friday half-days) and day-shifting (letting employees work a few hours earlier or later than the typical 9-to-5 schedule).
- Extended maternity — and paternity — leave. Compared to Baby Boomers, far more millennial couples are in dual-income households today, meaning both partners are under the pressure of juggling jobs and family. If you can offer a longer, better maternity/paternity package, that can be a real selling point. It can also communicate that you care about the families represented on your team.
- Benefits for pet owners. Because more couples are delaying marriage and children, it is increasingly common for them to see their pets as family. This means your workers value anything you can offer to help them care for their animals — ideas include pet insurance, employer-paid kenneling or pet-sitting during work travel, an on-site pet day care, bereavement leave when an animal dies, etc.
- An emphasis on wellness. Because younger generations tend to be more focused on health and self-care, they appreciate companies that have on-site health practitioners, as well as any kind of push toward wellness. Some businesses have health fairs with flu shots or blood pressure readings; others offer subsidized gym memberships or in-office yoga. Stocking the break room with healthy snacks is also a smart idea.
- Support for personal and professional development. Show job candidates and current employees that you are a business taking a holistic interest in their lives. Instead of only offering task-driven opportunities and training, think outside the box with a company library or book club that expands workers’ knowledge and connections. When personnel feel you care about their overall growth, they are much more likely to choose and remain loyal to your company. As a bonus, more opportunities for advancement — whether personally or professionally — are good for employers and employees.
- Do-good efforts. One of the most common values among millennials and Gen Z workers is a desire to impact the world for good. If your company has some kind of altruism in its mission or goals, that is a plus. Keep in mind, young professionals like brands that pay for a set number of volunteer hours and/or offer sabbatical programs that equip them to do good. When they are able to give time to a worthy cause without using vacation days, it is seen as a big benefit.
- Sports seats. Everyone likes to have fun, which is a fact some businesses are learning to use to their advantage. Keep a corporate suite at a local sports arena, and give away seats by lottery. Not only does this democratize your company — giving all levels of employees a fun and desirable perk — but it also shows your staff that you care about work-life balance and relaxation.
As the eight ideas above illustrate, there are myriad ways to draw younger professionals to your company — and make them want to stay with you for the long haul. The key is understanding the desires and needs of your prospects.
Truthfully, while there are many commonalities among older and younger members of the workforce, the most successful employers know that people are still individuals. Their uniqueness should be respected and fostered in the workplace. In other words, the perks that matter most to one worker may not be as important to another. For example, the young parent could be focused on family leave or on-site child care, but the carefree employee may covet entertainment or self-improvement perks. Ideally, strive to be wide-ranging in what you offer in order to be diverse in the personnel you draw. One way companies are doing this is to allocate funds toward extra benefits, but then let employees choose where their dollars go.
If you are interested in exploring creative benefits further — or just want to see the eight ideas above presented in a visually friendly format — be sure to take a look at the accompanying infographic created by The Jacobson Group. Business professionals and entrepreneurs can use these suggestions to their advantage and better their workplaces.