Demographic trends show that Millennials (ages 26 to 41 in 2022) are now the largest generation in the U.S. labor force 1 and represent 50 percent of American workers .2 By understanding the attitudes and behaviors of this important demographic, your company will be better able to attract, engage, and retain these younger workers.
Convince members of this generation to invest in themselves
Employers who want to inspire this demographics’ loyalty and trust will want to make workers feel valued and financially secure, in addition to providing the flexibility of the modern workplace. That requires engaging them differently than other age groups with respect to workplace programs and benefits.
Here are ideas to consider.
1. Offer financial wellness benefits
Consider inviting financial professionals into the workplace or on video calls to speak about topics that may interest younger workers, such as paying off debt, building emergency funds, basic budgeting, insurance, and saving for long-term goals like home ownership and retirement. Greater knowledge of personal finance can lead to smarter decisions about a wide range of money matters, including workplace benefits. (Related: Building a financial pyramid)
2. Customize your communications
Members of this generation are “digital natives,” which requires communicating your message via emails, podcasts, secure intranet sites, and so on. Craft language that is punchy, colloquial, personal and genuine, and that speaks to the individual, not the group.
3. Use numbers that reflect affordability and value
Highlight monthly, weekly or daily costs rather than annual expenditures; doing so keeps the focus on what is manageable today — affordability and good value for the money. These two factors appeal to a generation concerned about indebtedness and insufficient savings.
4. Establish employee mentors
Establish a mentorship program to reinforce opportunities for professional development and advancement. Incentivize older workers to stress the value of retirement savings and insurance. Conversely, use reverse mentorship where younger workers advise on technology, social platforms, and accessing benefit information online.
5. Adopt community campaigns
Workers in their twenties and thirties want employers to share their desire to give back. This calls for increasing your company’s participation in charity work, fundraising, and service outings, all of which can help you bond and build trust with this demographic. A positive culture and happier workplace can make these workers more amenable to hearing about employee benefits.
6. Open up the benefits conversation
Design benefit campaigns to include two-way conversations by incorporating surveys, feedback forums, and private pages where employees can discuss, rate, and review workplace benefits. (Related: What benefits are employees looking for?)
7. Create a culture of empowerment
If you make employees in their twenties and thirties an integral part of your company, they are likely to respond in kind. Provide leadership opportunities within your organization. Offer them a platform for sharing their knowledge. Let them stretch their creativity and develop their own initiatives and goals. This could help them become more engaged, satisfied, and loyal—and more receptive to workplace benefits.
Competition for this generation’s top workers can be fierce. Promoting participation in and satisfaction with your benefits package can go a long way toward differentiating your company and strengthening its reputation as a great place to work.
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This article was first published in March 2017. It has been updated.
1 Pew Research Center, "Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s Largest Generation," April 28, 2020.
2 Inc.com, "The (Millennial) Workplace of the Future Is Almost Here - These 3 Things Are About to Change Big Time,"January 15, 2019.