The Three Benefits Millennials Are Demanding From Employers

As published in Forbes, September 10th, 2018

By Paris Wallace CEO of Ovia Health

As the CEO of a growing startup in the benefits space, I talk to employers every day about their struggle to retain millennial talent. It’s also something I think about frequently for my own company. With millennial talent making up more than one-third of the workforce, there’s no question that companies need to fight hard to recruit, hire and retain this population. But we’re finding that what used to attract talent is not what attracts today’s talent: 89% of millennials prioritize benefits over pay raises, and 83% of millennials would change their job for better benefits. Because it’s not just about salary or that free keg of beer in the kitchen anymore, companies are having to change the way they recruit and offer new benefits. Millennials want jobs at companies where they can see themselves growing, both professionally and personally. Here are three benefits millennials want at their next jobs.

Ongoing Training And Development

According to Gallup, 87% of millennials say that professional training and career growth is very important to them. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that this group is always thinking about what’s next in their careers. Putting in place the framework to help your employees grow internally can help your company grow as well. Our company has monthly fireside chats with leaders in the health care space. This connects my team to innovators that help them think about problems differently, encouraging them to bring back best practices to their own job. Other leading companies have set up professional development collaborations to help employees grow. For example, AT&T has AT&T University, an onsite and virtual training program focused on leadership and management skills. Companies that invest in this type of training and development will not only be more attractive to top talent, but will also help save on turnover expenses, as it costs an average of 33% of an employee’s salary to replace an employee.

Family Benefits

At any given time at a company, a good number of employees are either thinking about starting a family, already pregnant or struggling to balance work and a young family. Having comprehensive family benefits — fertility, infertility, pregnancy, maternity, return-to-work and parenting benefits — can make one company stand out from the rest. Companies like Dow Jones (full disclosure: News Corp, which owns Dow Jones, is one of Ovia Health’s clients) offer benefits that create a family-friendly environment for all employees. Dow Jones provides a special-needs program that supports parents through live webinars and educational counseling, and parents are also able to take advantage of an on-site daycare and summer camp. As more millennials enter parenthood, family benefits will help retain top talent and also keep more women in the leadership pipeline — which can boost a company’s bottom line.

Lifestyle Support

Beyond free food and beer in the kitchen, millennials want lifestyle support at their jobs. With a quarter of millennials in debt, and almost one-third of millennials saying that managing a work-life balance is difficult, this group is looking for companies that work with their lifestyles. Millennials are never off the clock, so they prioritize benefits such as flexible scheduling, student loan repayment programs, financial assistance and fitness discounts. Companies such as EY, which offers personalized financial planning and solutions for repaying student loans, and Fidelity, which launched its Step Ahead Student Loan program in 2016, recognize that employees are looking for additional support from their employers. Flexible scheduling can also be a make-or-break benefit for young millennials as well as those employees starting a family. With 34% of women deciding not to return to their job after having a baby and 77% of millennials believing that a flexible schedule makes them more productive, employers that have these benefits and promote them to new and current talent can set their companies apart from the rest.

Ensuring your company has benefits that fit the needs of the next generation workforce is one of the most important things you can do to set your organization up for success. Millennials are looking for companies that offer innovative benefits such as ongoing training and development, family benefits and lifestyle support. Companies that offer these benefits will attract and retain the best talent — and prevent significant turnover costs as well.

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Jordan Lipson