Today’s HR department faces a unique challenge: the changing needs and desires of millennials. Millennials, unlike previous generations, are looking for options. They want workplaces that are able to adapt in order to meet their needs, rather than being forced into a 9-5 workday and an environment where their needs aren’t taken into consideration. It’s critical, therefore, that workplaces looking to hire millennial workers find ways to adapt their changing expectations and offerings in order to provide the choices that millennials really want from their employers.

How Millennials are Different

Millennials are changing jobs at a much higher rate than other generations, and they aren’t ashamed of it. 21% of them have left a job in the past year for a new employment opportunity, and 6 out of 10 millennials admit that they would be open to a new job opportunity should one arise. 93% of those job changes moved the job seeker to an entirely new company. They aren’t content to take one job and stay there until retirement; instead, millennials are always looking for the next opportunity or the next company that’s offering something better. They keep networking and continue looking for new opportunities even when they’re happy in their current position–and companies that want to compete in talent acquisition need to understand how to place themselves in a position that will attract that millennial audience.

What Millennials Want

The millennial generation is looking for more than other generations when it comes to the whole work experience. While they certainly expect adequate compensation for their work, they also want those extra incentives that help set your company apart from the masses. These might include:

Flexibility. Millennials prefer not to be tied down to a 9-5 workday. They like flexibility in their work schedule. This might include the ability to set their own schedule, putting in those 8 hours when it works for them around the demands of home, kids, and their lives outside of work; the ability to work from home on occasion or on a semi-permanent basis, and the ability to adjust their hours when needed–for example, choosing to work four 10-hour shifts instead of the traditional five 8-hour shifts.

Corporate wellness programs. Millennials care about health and fitness–and they appreciate it when their employers show equal concern for what they’re able to accomplish. Not only do they expect adequate health insurance to help take care of their needs if they are ill or injured, they love knowing that their company is taking the extra steps to help them get healthy. This might include gym memberships, compensation for using company-provided wellness centers, or incentives for meeting fitness goals. Millennials also enjoy companies that offer them adequate health and fitness choices, like providing salad, fruit, and other health options at company dinners.

Job engagement. Millennials don’t want to perform boring, repetitious tasks. Instead, they want the chance to stretch their capabilities and show what they’re able to accomplish. They want to use their skills, improve their training, and show that they’re able to go that important extra mile for their employer. Companies that offer opportunities for advancement from within or who provide annual training opportunities will go a long way toward winning over a millennial audience.

Work/life balance. Millennials are looking for companies that will allow them to prioritize family over work and leave room in their busy schedules for the things that really matter to them personally. They want to be able to take care of the things that matter to them first–and when they have those opportunities, they’re more likely to give their all when they’re at work.

Support. When millennials start a new job, they want to know that they’ll receive the support they need to do it right. They want adequate training, full explanations, and goals and timelines they can reasonably reach. Not only that, they want their expectations clearly explained so that they know what they’re expected to accomplish when they head into work each day.

Loyalty. Millennials aren’t really as prone to job-hopping as many people believe. They like the idea of being loyal to a single company–but they also expect the same level of loyalty in return. A company that shows that it genuinely cares about its employees and will go the extra mile for them is more likely to attract millennial employees than those that are less apt to provide for their employees.

How Companies Can Fulfill Millennial Expectations

Let’s face it: meeting the changing demands of millennial employees is an ongoing challenge. Many companies may find themselves wondering how they can keep up with the changing times–and how they’re going to attract those critical talent individuals who will help take their company into the next generation. Fortunately, your company has several tools that will help you better reach millennial employees.

Check your benefits package. What benefits are you offering your new employees? Sometimes, little things can make a big difference–and in many cases, employees will be willing to accept lower wage compensation from a company when you’re compensating them in other ways. These benefits might include:

  • Quality health, vision, and dental insurance
  • A corporate wellness plan that will help your employees meet their personal goals as well as their professional ones
  • Retirement packages, especially if you’re willing to help your employees save for retirement
  • Investment opportunities
  • Compensation and time off for training over the course of each year

The right benefits package can make a big difference in the way employees–both the ones you have now and the ones you’d like to attract–will view your business. Take a look at your benefits package and determine whether or not you’re competitive in your industry–and what changes you could potentially make to your offerings to make your millennial employees happier with the company.

Be open to change. It’s hard to get over the idea that your employees all need to work on the same schedule, all the time–but it’s a change that’s well worth it. Try out the idea of letting some of your employees work remotely or consider allowing them to shift their hours to meet their specific needs. You may find that as a result, you get more productivity out of your employees. Look at ways that flexibility can benefit your company, rather than getting stuck on the potential downsides. It’s not just about attracting millennial employees. It’s about offering all of your employees better work-life balance.

Give them something to get passionate about. Does your company provide a product that is genuinely beneficial to people? Are you involved with charities that appeal to your millennial employees? Take the time to consider what it is that your company does that would encourage your employees to be engaged and passionate about their work, then dig in and help them find that incentive to give your company their all.

Offer solid training opportunities. Not only do millennials want to be better at the job they’re currently doing, they want the opportunity to advance. Providing them with training opportunities–and then opening the door for growth within your company–will help them meet their personal goals and keep them more engaged throughout the workday.

How HR Can Help

The human resources department of your company is a key tool in the battle to attract and maintain millennial talent. There are several strategies that the HR department can put into play that will help ensure that millennial employees feel appreciated and valued at your workplace.

Institute an open-door policy. Make it easy for employees to come in when they have questions and concerns. It’s critical to have a clear reporting policy for any instances of discrimination and to take action quickly when problems arise.

Talk to your employees. Take the time to learn what they really want from your company–both the things that you’re currently offering them that they want to keep and the things that could lead them to seek employment elsewhere.

Show appreciation. From offering cards–or even small gifts–when your employees hit major milestone events in their lives to providing a shout-out to employees who have met critical goals, it’s important to show appreciation to your employees to let them know that they’re valued members of the team.

Create millennial-friendly job postings and hiring procedures. A long, drawn-out hiring process can make it very difficult for you to attract millennial employees. Top talent goes fast, and millennials aren’t waiting around for your company–no matter how interested they might be in your open position.

You should also make sure that your job postings contain the right information to attract a millennial audience and that you’re communicating with candidates throughout the hiring process.

Make sure employees are getting regular feedback. It’s not just about appreciation. It’s also about letting them know how they’re doing on a regular basis so that they’ll be able to more easily adapt their performance to your needs.

Create an atmosphere of collaboration. Millennial employees were raised in a generation of teamwork. They want to work with one another, rather than competing against one another: sharing ideas, working together on projects, and being rewarded as a team. While they have little patience for coworkers who don’t pull their own weight, they’re willing to go the extra mile to help the entire team succeed. Creating an atmosphere of collaboration–including rewarding employees who work well with others–is a great way to enhance your appeal to a millennial audience.

Connect millennials to mentors. This is particularly important when you have a young team member starting their first job or moving into a new industry. Millennials crave connection. Connecting them with a mentor doesn’t just fulfill that need for them. It also provides them with a ready source of information and someone they can trust with all of their questions about the new job, making it easier for them to take the steps necessary to succeed in this position. Many mentor relationships continue long beyond those initial employment stages to create a highly successful working relationship.

The perks you offer your employees can make a big difference in attracting and retaining millennial talent. At Gympass, we provide corporate wellness programs that will help your employees to find a fitness routine that fits them, with hundreds of different experiences for every profile, matching the millennial ideal of extreme flexibility and personalization.  Your company will encourage them to become happier and more productive individuals, increasing engagement and retention.