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Blue @ Work

Want to retain millennials? Refresh your benefits package

These perks are the future of benefits packages everywhere.

Health insurance? Check.

Paid vacation and holidays? Check, check.

401(k) matching plan? Check.

How about flexible schedules (ditching the traditional nine-to-five), on-site gyms or gym reimbursement, pet insurance, student loan assistance, or personal growth and development opportunities?

Maybe your workplace isn’t quite there yet.

Heads up: Millennials will make up 50 percent of the workforce by 2020. And, it's only going to increase from there. For more condition-related information, check out the Health of Millennial report External Site from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Whatever the case may be for your workplace, many employers haven’t thought about refreshing their benefits package. But with a new generation of employees coming into the workplace at full speed, the millennials will shake up benefits packages as we once knew them.

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The shake-up of workplace benefit packages

35 percent of millennials value schedule flexibility over pay

By 2030, the millennial majority will likely do away with the 9-to-5 workday

50 percent of millennails want training and development

Sources: Forbes.com, The Muse.com

But here’s where employers get millennials all wrong — they throw in a few ping-pong and pool tables, free snacks and beer on tap, and while it sounds great, millennials aren’t seeking these kinds of benefits.

In reality, millennials are seeking a job or career that represents more than a paycheck. Millennials want to have meaning in the jobs they have. They want to feel invested in and challenged by their work — not disengaged or bored.

First things first. Don’t panic. We’ve rounded up five of the most requested benefits from the millennial population to give you some ideas of what to look into for revamping your employee benefits package.

The five most requested benefits from millennials

  1. Flexible schedules. Before you roll your eyes, hear us out. Millennials likely grew up with parents whose stress levels were off the charts, or felt the brunt of not having their parents readily available to them because of it. And, according to a study done by Bentley University, 77 percent of millennials say that flexible work hours would make them (and their workplace) more productive. Not only were employees more productive with work schedules, but they were happier External Site and less prone to burnout and stress.
  2. Student loan repayment. This is a rather obvious one, but only four percent of companies offer External Site this benefit. Curious why millennials are being accused of ruining the entertainment, restaurant, real estate/housing, transportation, and soon, the higher education industries? It’s simple: student loan debt is a pest millennials can’t get rid of. With more than 44 million borrowers who owe a collective $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, this puts each borrower at an average of $30,000 in debt. Depending on their salary, balancing student loans, rent or mortgage payments, car payments, or health insurance means millennials won't have a lot of spare change lying around. Talk about a major stress-inducer and uncertainty of creating a comfortable future External Site.
  3. Health and well-being support (beyond physical health). Want employees to participate in your workplace wellness program? Millennials are your best bet. This generation has been more focused on following and contributing to the growth of the wellness industry. Open up any social media platform and you see millennials sharing healthy recipes, blogging or vlogging their healthy habits (e.g., meal prepping, meditation Opens in a new window, self-care Opens in a new window or gym time Opens in a new window). But, millennials aren’t just wanting the typical physical and dietary component of well-being. They want their employers to invest in their well-being, which means addressing the six elements of well-being.
  4. A sense of purpose. As a country, we’ve developed a long-standing mentality that a job means you can put food on the table and keep the lights on. While true, times have changed and millennials are searching for more. More meaning, purpose or belief in the work they are doing. They want to know they are contributing to something bigger and making a difference. Can you blame them?
  5. Frequent feedback and interactions between their managers. According to the Gallup report "How millennials want to live and work," the relationship between manager and employees represent a vital link in performance management. Millennials are 44 percent more engaged when their managers provide frequent and consistent communication and feedback.

"If an organization has a wellness program, they should keep in mind the unique generational demographics of their organization to ensure they are providing meaningful programs and activities that support all areas of well-being." - Julie Enga, Wellmark employer health and well-being consultant

How to start addressing millennials in your workplace

As millennials become a more prominent population within the workforce, it’s important for your workplace to start determining ways to avoid decreased productivity and increased health care costs. For the sake of your company’s bottom line, health of your employees External Site, and success of your business, it’s important to find ways you can begin to incorporate the six elements of well-being into your workplace.

At Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, we know your business, and have insights and data on your employees that you may not have in-house. Our team of employer well-being consultants can serve as an extension of your workforce and provide expertise in creating engaging solutions to meet the unique, ever-changing needs of your organization.

How can I stay in-the-know about millennials in the workplace?

Our team will continue to develop content surrounding insights, trends, tools and resources, tips and tricks, and health-specific information needed to keep you in-the-know about your millennial employee population. As millennials take over the workplace, it’s important to know how you can keep them happy, healthy and engaged.

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