Guest Blog by Ronni Zehavi, CEO and Co-Founder of HiBob
Amid economic change and a generational shift in attitudes toward careers, millennials have embraced job hopping as a pathway toward better opportunities and personal fulfillment. Millennials predict that they will have an average of nine jobs during their careers – a marked contrast to the seemingly distant era in which it was not uncommon for professionals to remain with the same company from graduation through retirement. So, what is the key to keeping millennials onboard?
Millennials Aren’t Like Their Parents
While larger structural factors help explain why that era is becoming a faint memory, companies are not powerless in the face of these forces and can have a significant influence on the longevity of millennial employees. Indeed, 84 percent of millennials in a recent Hibob survey expressed a desire to remain with their current companies for at least two years, indicating that while younger workers will still switch jobs and even career paths at much higher rates than previous generations, businesses that take proactive, practical, and proven steps can position themselves to engender loyalty among millennial workers and improve retention. To achieve these goals, tailoring employees’ benefits to their specific needs is crucial.
Millennials are hardly unique in placing a premium on quality benefits packages. But employers who assume that what worked for millennials’ parents will attract and retain today’s twentysomethings are making a grave mistake. Thanks to groundbreaking advances in big data analytics, employers now have more tools at their disposal than ever to gain in-depth insights into their workforces and to design benefits packages that simultaneously promote robust company performance and are customized to the values, priorities, lifestyles, and needs of their individual workers.
Companies Are Adjusting
A growing number of employers appreciate the importance of these trends. Research by Willis Towers Watson reveals that 62 percent of employers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa think it’s important to custom-design benefits packages for their workforces. But while 76 percent of respondents said they planned to implement organizational analytics within the next three years, adoption has been slow; in the United Kingdom, for instance, only 12 percent of respondents were currently using organizational analytics to assess benefits packages. Given the vast range of information that can be gleaned from data – whether it’s drawn from anonymous employee surveys, claims data, health assessments, or time off data – the case for harnessing this valuable commodity to make HR decisions is obvious.
What types of benefits packages should data-savvy employers offer? While answers will vary by workforce, there are obvious starting points for organizations seeking to keep millennials in the fold. Policies that promote a healthy work-life balance – the option to telecommute, flexible hours, paid leave, and the like – are vital to millennials’ job satisfaction and company loyalty. In Deloitte’s 2017 Millennial Survey, 35 percent of those working at organizations with a high degree of flexibility reported plans to leave their current employers within the next two years, compared to 45 percent working at low-flexibility organizations. And while only 27 percent of millennial workers at low-flexibility organizations said they expected to remain beyond five years, 33 percent of those at high-flexibility organizations did. Those working at high-flexibility workplaces also overwhelmingly reported positive impacts on their productivity, overall wellbeing, morale, and engagement with their work.
As digital natives, millennials also expect to be able to use digital HR platforms to compare and choose benefits options, request time off, and so on. Greater autonomy in selection will lead to more personalized benefits suited to younger workers’ specific needs. Eight in 10 employers with a high millennial presence said in a MetLife Survey that customized packages increase employee loyalty and boosts recruitment and retention.
It’s Personal Fulfillment That Ultimately Matters
Many experts on millennials and the workforce argue that it’s personal fulfillment, not perks, that millennials truly prize. Ping-pong tables, well-stocked snack pantries, and scooters may be all well and good, the thinking goes, but if millennials lack a sense of purpose in their work lives, it’s all for naught. These critics are actually onto something important – but they’re hardly making an effective case against millennial-friendly benefits packages. As the research shows, millennials who enjoy flexible work policies and customized packages experience higher levels of satisfaction, company loyalty, and engagement with their work. In short, they’re more fulfilled in their work.
The broad trends in millennial thinking about the workplace are clear, and provide rich fodder for employers seeking to recruit and retain young employees. To optimize those efforts, individual organizations should leverage the tremendous power of employee data and HR technology to implement policies that maximize employee engagement and promote morale. Those who embrace this approach will win the hearts and minds of millennial talent, while those who fail to adapt will find themselves scrambling to deal with dissatisfied employees and high turnover.