When it comes to millennials, suffice it to say that they are the most complicated generation. They are the largest generation in today’s workforce, yet they’re unlike any of the generations that preceded them. Employers and brokers alike are trying to figure them out. What makes them tick at work? What motivates them? What benefits will attract them to a job and keep them there?
Millennials are stereotyped in many ways — such as, they are tied to their smartphones; selfie-obsessed; job-hoppers; digitally-addicted; believe they are entitled and much more. To recruit them, retain them, and provide benefits that are meaningful to them, employers and brokers need to understand them and what motivates them, and then address their differences.
So to set the record straight on millennials, let’s engage in the classic party game of Truth or Dare, which is a great way to learn more about people. In this case, let’s learn more about millennials.
About their job:
They aren’t job-hopping any faster than Generation X did. According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are just as likely to stick with their employers as their older counterparts in Generation X were when they were young adults. One factor that may be contributing to millennials staying with employers longer is their relatively high levels of education.
Millennials strive to accomplish more than just their day jobs. They prefer flexible work hours so that they can utilize their time the way they want. Millennials want to make a difference, but they also want a life.
About how to communicate:
Millennials prefer to communicate through platforms such as email, Instant Messaging, blogs and text messages, rather than on the phone or face to face. Social media and videos are tops on their list as well.
About their finances:
Millennials have more loans and carry fewer credit cards than the generations before them, according to FoxNews.com.
According to PwC, 57 percent of millennials are stressed about their finances. And as a result, a Bank of America/Merrill Lynch study reveals that millennials spend 3-5 hours per week at work focused on their personal financial matters.
Yet, 48 percent of millennials are optimistic about their financial future and 92 percent of millennials would participate in a financial education program provided by their employer, according to a Bank of America/Merrill Lynch study.
Millennials expect a broader range of health care services than they are currently offered, according to an Oliver Wyman report. Many of the services millennials are interested in are technology-related, such as an on-camera visit with a doctor or an app that enables a consultation with specialists. They are interested in health and wellness services.
They want to make their own decisions about their benefits. Choice is important to millennials, and it’s almost a mandate given that they are the most diverse generation in the workforce today. Millennials want options and then they can pick the benefits that are important to them.
According to Gallup, they want benefits and perks that directly impact their lives and the lives of their family members. They are planning families or already have young children at home. So child care costs and maternity and paternity leave are pressing issues for millennials. Additionally, 60 percent say insurance coverage other than health insurance is important.
And don’t forget pet insurance for their four-legged family members. Millennials are waiting longer to have children than other generations, and about two-thirds of millennials are pet owners.
So you didn’t know all this about millennials? Then you must complete this “dare”:
Participation in employee benefit programs is generally lower among millennials than other workers, according to SHRM. So employers and brokers need to “dare” to utilize benefits communications methods that appeal to millennials. It’s also important to communicate frequently, not just during open enrollment time.
Tailor communications messages specifically for millennials. Employers and brokers should “dare” to provide information in snackable, bite-size portions. Plus, millennials need more than information — they need to see the value. Provide an explanation or illustration on why it matters — how a particular benefit will help them now or in the future.
Millennials have spoken loud and clear that they want choice and want to choose their own benefits. So employers and brokers must “dare” to provide a variety of voluntary benefits that allow millennials to select the benefits they want. Benefits like identity theft protection, critical illness insurance, student loan repayment programs, employee purchase programs and pet insurance appeal to millennials.
Millennials are the current reality in today’s workforce. What they accomplish in their jobs determines the success of a business. Employers and brokers who “dare” to understand millennials and structure benefits programs and communications accordingly will win the game.