According to a recent study by Bentley University, almost 70 percent of corporate recruiters say it’s difficult for their organizations to manage millennials. The millennial generation is generally identified as those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, and as with any new generation that comes into the workforce, employers are examining how they manage and communicate with these workers in order to get the most out of their talent.
Even benefits communication tactics should be examined when it comes to millennials. Knowing the general traits of this generation -- they’re interested in customized options, they’re connected, they blur the line between work time and private time -- can help you tailor a benefits communication strategy just for them. Keep these tips in mind to effectively reach millennial employees.
Focus on the here and now.
Young people generally don’t spend a lot of time planning for the far-off future, and millennials are no exception, says Todd Cherches, CEO and co-founder of BigBlueGumball, a management and leadership development firm. The future, to them, is pretty much the next 6 to 12 months, Cherches says.
So, trying to sell them on benefits with a longer time horizon than 6-12 months isn’t valuable or appealing for millennials, and generally ineffective as a talent acquisition, retention, or engagement strategy, he says.
Millennials aren’t likely to be around to vest in long-term incentives such as 401(k) plans and equity ownership, Cherches says, adding that those kinds of benefits are more aimed at baby boomers and Gen Xers. Instead, Cherches recommends focusing on benefits that have more immediate impacts: “a great work environment and innovative culture, social networking and developmental opportunities, freedom and flexibility, and access to cutting-edge technology,” Cherches says.
Millennials are known for being connected, and are open to regular updates, says Lynn Berger, a career counselor. “Since millennials are constantly connected, you need to send them messages repeatedly reminding them to enroll in the benefit package and explain to them concisely what everything means,” she says.
Millennials like to be informed, and they like to customize their options -- so show them how they can do so with their benefits. When communicating with them about benefits options, highlight the ways they can make the plans their own. “If possible, include personal stories and humor,” Berger says -- millennials are comfortable with less formality in the workplace. Hold in-person meetings that explain the benefits packages, or offer webinars and Skype sessions to get everyone informed, Berger says.
Don’t write them off.
Millennials are sometimes stereotyped as not serious or lazy, but it’s important to remember that those are just stereotypes. “Millennials are not the slackers they are often portrayed to be,” Cherches says. “They want to succeed; it's just that they need to be shown that they are being set up for success now.” Help them succeed at your organization by ensuring that the benefits communication they receive is tailored just for them -- and shows them how to put a package together that works best for their needs.
Winston Benefits is an HR solutions company that helps businesses enhance and optimize employee benefit plans, enrich compensation and rewards programs, and save money on benefits communication, enrollment and administration. Contact us to learn more.