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Blue @ Work

What do millennials really want at work?

Answering this question will guide your company's future.

They are the fastest-growing segment of employees, and by 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce External Site. But like the generations before them, millennials (born between 1981 and 1996 according to Pew Research External Site) basically want the same things as any other generation: A better life for themselves and their families.

If you are interested in learning more about how we can support your employees’ health and well-being next year and beyond get connected with one of our Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue shield well-being consultants by filling out our complimentary consultation form Opens in a new window. To get started now, find a catalog of fitness tips and ideas to share with your employees at Opens in a new window.

Yet 71 percent External Site of millennials are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work. This means they are willing to move on from their current job, or actively searching for a new employer. That’s why it’s important to create a corporate culture that engages millennials and appeals to new candidates. Here’s a few ways to do it, framed through the lens of the six elements of well-being.

Physical: Keep up with wellness trends

To attract and retain millennials, it’s important to keep up with workplace wellness trends and address all aspects of health, beyond just physical needs.

If you think millennials are physically healthy, just because they are young, think again. Findings from the Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® Health of America Report® External Site reveal another side of the story. In fact, 1 in 3 millennials have a health condition affecting their quality of life.

Millennials are also experiencing the negative effects of the pandemic on their mental health. To get them engaged in your wellness program, rethink your delivery or provide remote options. For example, promote telemedicine , set up online fitness challenges and provide discounts on fitness wearables and apps. You can also provide virtual weight-loss coaching, discounts on meal-prep services, and online classes about healthy cooking, self-care Opens in a new window or meditation Opens in a new window.

By thinking outside the box and offering well-being programs that align with your employees’ needs, you’re not just supporting their health — you’re making decisions that are good for your business.

Career: Offer flexible schedules

Employer loyalty is not high on the priority list for millennials. They have a reputation for job-hopping, with 60 percent open to new job opportunities External Site. In a nutshell, millennials don’t believe productivity should be measured by the number of hours spent at the office. They want flexibility to shape their job to fit their lives — not the other way around. For millennials, work is a thing, not a place — and they’re not afraid to go looking for the right fit.

Millennials grew up in a variety of living arrangements that influenced this shift in thinking. Some were latchkey kids with a single working parent who had little time for leisure. Some suffered secondhand stress, or felt the absence of a parent (or parents) who was always at the office. Whatever the case, it’s why millennials seek employers who understand the need for work-life balance. (Did we mention lack of work-life balance can lead to significant health problems down the road?)

One way to promote work-life balance is by offering flexible schedules. This is not about taking a day of paid time off to stay home and care for a sick child. This is about giving millennials the ability to work from home when their schedule allows, so long as they are productive and accountable. It’s about spending less time commuting, more time doing. It’s about making basic, responsible choices for themselves when they know they can be more productive at home. Whether it's a four-day work week, more personal time, the option of working remotely or wearing casual attire, it may be time to refresh your benefits package to include more flexible options.

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Millennials and flexible schedules

  • 37% of millennials would take a pay cut if it meant flexibility in work location and hours
  • 81% percent of millennials think they should set their own work schedules

Pre-pandemic, millennials were having a hard time making ends meet. Today, the pandemic has made matters worse. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not because millennials are “bad” with money. In fact, their spending habits aren’t so different from previous generations External Site. Their wages are simply unable to keep up with the cost of living and historically high housing costs.

Employers can make a big difference, and millennials are open to their help. While they tend to be skeptical of financial advisors and institutions, nearly half of millennials want their employer to provide access to a variety of financial wellness tools External Site.

Why do it? Because the workplace suffers when employers don’t address the financial well-being of employees. When employees are struggling financially, their overall health and well-being is at risk. That said, not all companies can offer a comprehensive financial solution for employees. Here are a few cost-effective solutions to consider:

Social: Encourage connection

Millennials want to work with people they care about. In one study, 71 percent External Site of millennials said they want their colleagues to be a “second family.”

However, the pandemic is making millennials feel less connected to their employers External Site, and more job-related stress compared to other generations. They may be juggling the pressures of child care, remote learning, family dynamics and stress from social isolation.

As an employer, it’s in your best interest to prioritize social connection, especially when employees are working remotely. When social needs are met External Site, employees are happier and physically healthier, which translates into improved work performance.

To help employees feel less lonely and isolated while working from home:

  • Encourage them to check in with each other frequently, just to ask how things are going.
  • Use video conferencing software for meetings instead of using the phone.
  • Schedule virtual meet-ups like a face-to-face coffee break.
  • Prioritize team traditions and rituals, even if you can’t all be in the same room together.
  • Celebrate all accomplishments, no matter how small.

Community: Promote purpose over profit

If your company’s goals are just about making a profit, then you aren’t appealing to millennials. They want to work for an organization with a greater purpose. They also want to feel good about their work and make an impact on the community, and society at large.

In general, across the workforce, employees who believe that their company has a higher purpose over money-making are 27 percent more likely External Site to stay. Yet, 43 percent of millennials feel like their company only cares about profits.

A sense of a purpose can help your employees feel like they are doing something meaningful beyond just a job. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Support a cause. Over half of employees say company support for social causes is an important factor in accepting a job.
  • Create a culture of giving back. Give back to community causes and encourage your employees to participate.
  • Know the “why” behind the “what.” When working on individual tasks and projects, be sure employees know why it’s important. How does the task or project support the values or purpose of the company?
  • Start a volunteer program. Volunteer opportunities in the workplace can improve employee loyalty, promote and improve leadership, and attract new talent.

Emotional: Reduce the stigma around mental health

When employees are emotionally grounded, they are happier and more productive. Yet, according to the Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® (BCBS) Health of America Report® External Site, report, mental health issues impact millennials at a higher rate.

According to the report, major depression Opens in a new window is the top condition affecting millennials. Of the 25 percent of employees diagnosed with depression External Site, it’s estimated 40 percent take an average of 10 days off each year as a result. The pandemic has only made matter worse, particularly among essential workers.

The good news is, employees are increasingly open External Site to using employer-sponsored mental health services like stress management programs, mental health apps, mindfulness meditation programs, and more. However, offering mental health programs and resources is just one part of the solution. You also need to actively work to reduce the stigma around mental health and encourage your employees to use the benefits you have to offer.

Download your free e-book: Millennials in Your Workplace

When you download your free copy of the Millennials In Your Workplace e-book Opens in a new window, you can take advantage of extensive research, in-house data and subject matter experts to create sustainable, long-term changes in your workplace today.

Questions? Contact your authorized Wellmark account representative, or email us at Send Email.