What makes a Millennial new hire a challenge for the workplace today?
For one, their expectations walking in the door are different than any other generation we’ve seen in the past. Where Baby Boomers and Gen Xers came to us believing they had to put in their time to “earn” various elements of compensation or benefits, Millennials expect those up front. Remember, many Millennials have grown up in a world where an effort produces an immediate result or reward. The idea of having to wait for rewards can be both foreign and frustrating for them.
However, we as the employers know that benefits are expensive. We struggle with the business need for a Return on Investment (ROI) on what we’re already investing with our current, traditional compensation and benefit models. And we’ve all been burned in the past by the individual we invested a great deal in who bailed on us long before that ROI came our way.
So what do we do for our Millennial new hires, and why? To answer the second question first: because they are here! They aren’t just our “future” workforce, they are becoming our current employees. With each graduation and each retirement, we will see the numbers of Millennials in our workforce climb, and their advent will demand that employers examine their benefit offerings carefully in order to attract and retain their talent.
I don’t think it would be a stretch to see the waiting time for paid vacation shortened — instead of six months, maybe three? Does the basic start off of two weeks paid vacation need to grow to three weeks? Will we see gravitation away from separate vacation and sick time to Paid Time Off (PTO)? What about some type of reward or buy-back system for unused sick time? Will tuition reimbursement eligibility decrease from one year of service to one day? What about a more broad availability of cell phone/data/text plan reimbursement? We are limited only by our imagination and creativity. And our budget, of course!
Changing our benefit offerings in some of these areas may seem like quite a polar shift. However, it’s important for us to know that if we are willing to be creative and flexible here, we will find that our Millennials will be highly motivated, energetic, and ready to work hard for us. They will bring their fresh perspectives and enthusiasm to our teams, and perhaps an ROI we weren’t expecting.
So, the next time you’re recruiting for a position, boldly accept the challenge of our Millennial applicants — their success is OUR success!