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How to keep Millennial employees motivated and happy

Health Benefits • August 15, 2023 at 7:30 AM • Written by: Holly Bengfort

Millennials are the most represented generation in the workforce today. A Deloitte report1 found that Millennials will represent 75% of the global workforce by 2025.

The needs and expectations of Millennial talent are different from those of the previous generations of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. With their tech-savviness and desire for a greater work-life balance, it's essential to understand what drives and inspires this generation.

In this article, we'll go over what it takes to keep millennial employees motivated and happy at your organization.

Download our chart to see the different benefits each generation cares about the most and least, as well as how to best recruit or retain each group

What benefits do Millennials want?

Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, value a positive work environment, personal growth opportunities, and work-life balance. Traditional benefits and motivational techniques may not resonate with this generation, leading to decreased productivity and higher turnover rates. Employers must understand what motivates and keeps millennial employees engaged to foster a harmonious and productive work environment.

Our 2022 Employee Benefits Survey Report found that only 50% of Millennial employees feel the benefits their employers offer are worth the cost to them.

Here are some of the top perks and benefits for Millennials:

  • Paid time off (PTO)
  • Retirement benefits
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Health benefits
  • Professional development
  • Student loan repayment assistance

Let's go over each one in more detail below.

Offer an ample amount of PTO

Taking time off improves employee happiness and prevents burnout. PTO allows employees to rest and recharge without losing their hard-earned income. This includes vacation time, sick leave, personal days, and mental health days. Even if you can't offer unlimited time off at your organization, offer as much as you can. Our report found that 95% of Millennials value an adequate amount of PTO.

Help them plan for retirement

Retirement plans, such as 401(k)s or pension plans, help employees save for the future and secure their financial stability after they retire. However, a 2022 Goldman Sachs’ Retirement Survey & Insights Report2 found that 34% of Millennials feel like they’re behind on their retirement savings.

You can help them get back on track by offering a retirement plan as an employee benefit. Our report shows that 87% of Millennials value retirement benefits. But only 54% of employers surveyed offer these benefits, which suggests a gap in meeting the needs of this generation. Providing a retirement savings plan is a great way to become an employer of choice among Millennial job seekers.

Embrace flexible schedules

According to our report, 83% of Millennials value a flexible work schedule. Offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or flexible work hours, can significantly increase their job satisfaction and overall happiness.

Healthy work-life balance is a top priority for millennials. Trust them to manage their time effectively and focus on results rather than strict office hours. This flexibility will not only boost their motivation but also improve their productivity.

Provide health benefits that give employees choice

Millennials want a say in their health benefits. Our report found that 63% of Millennials value being able to choose their own benefits rather than their employer choosing for them. Additionally, our report found that 88% of Millennials say health insurance is an extremely important benefit.

Some employers offer traditional group health insurance policies, but they're often more expensive than other health benefits. It's also one-size-fits-all, which may not meet the needs of your diverse workforce. A cost-effective alternative is a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). HRAs allow employers to reimburse employees, tax-free, for their medical costs.

Here are three of the most popular HRAs:

Qualifying expenses can include medical care, dental and vision insurance premiums, and other related costs. PeopleKeep's administration software makes it easy to set up and manage your health benefit in minutes each month.

You can also provide a health stipend to your employees, which is a fixed amount of money for their health plans and medical expenses. Like HRAs, stipends are flexible and cost-effective, but they're taxable and are not considered a formal health benefit. However, you can leverage stipends to cover more than just health expenses. With WorkPerks by PeopleKeep, you can easily create custom employee wellness stipends. A wellness stipend covers gym memberships, fitness classes, home exercise equipment, wearable fitness trackers, mental health counseling, and other wellness expenses for employees.

Offer opportunities for career growth and development

Millennial workers value continuous learning and growth in their careers. Our report shows that 73% of Millennials value professional development. Provide them with career advancement opportunities, such as training programs, workshops, or conferences. Encourage them to take on new challenges and offer support and guidance along the way. This will keep them motivated and show that you're invested in their skill development for long-term success.

Help them with their student loan debt

According to Education Data3, the average student loan debt in the U.S. is $37,717. Millennials make up the largest group of federal loan borrowers, followed by Generation Z. Offering a student loan repayment plan is an easy way to attract college graduates who are trying to chip away at their debt. You can also help your employees avoid student loan debt by offering tuition reimbursement for education expenses such as college tuition, textbooks, supplies, and equipment.

Other ways to keep Millennial employees motivated and happy

As the first generation to grow up with the internet, millennials thrive in a digital workplace. Embrace technology and provide them with the tools and resources they need to work efficiently.

Work tech includes tools and software that enhance the employee experience. With the right tools at their disposal, employees can work efficiently, communicate effectively, and manage tasks easily.

Some examples of work tech include:

  • Project management software
  • Video conferencing software
  • OKR software
  • Employee communication tools
  • File-sharing software

Work tech solutions aim to improve workflow, productivity, and collaboration. This will not only keep your Millennial employees engaged but also showcase your company's commitment to staying on the cutting edge.

Conclusion

When you offer these desirable benefits and perks, it's easier to recruit and retain Millennial talent at your organization. Remember, their needs may differ from the previous Baby Boomer and Gen X generations. Understanding and catering to their preferences will lead to a happier and more productive workforce.

Tailor your benefits package for the Millennial generation. Schedule a call with a personalized benefits advisor now!

This blog article was originally published on October 10, 2013. It was last updated on August 15, 2023.

  1. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/gx-dttl-2014-millennial-survey-report.pdf
  2. https://www.gsam.com/content/gsam/us/en/institutions/market-insights/gsam-insights/2022/retirement-survey-insights-2022.html#section-none
  3. https://educationdata.org/student-loan-debt-statistics

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Holly Bengfort

Holly is a content marketing specialist for PeopleKeep. Before joining the team in 2023, Holly worked in television news as a broadcast journalist. As an anchor and reporter, she communicated complex stories to the vast communities she served on a daily basis. Her background has given her a greater understanding of people and the issues that affect our lives. When Holly isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, exercising, and spending time at the beach.