5 Tips on Millennials and Benefits

May 25, 2018 | Christy DeFrain | Purchasing Power
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They’re now the largest generation in the workforce and we are still trying to figure out Millennials and what they want. Benefits are a key driver for today’s workforce. Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workforce Survey reported that Millennials want benefits and perks that directly impact their lives and the lives of their family members.

What benefits resonate with Millennials? Here are 5 tips to keep in mind:

1. Give them options.

Millennials are an “on-demand” generation. Consequently, they expect to be given a “laundry list” of benefits options so they can choose what’s useful to them.

Most employers today are adding or expanding voluntary benefits to attract Millennials including critical illness insurance, employee purchase programs, identity theft protection and pet insurance. Additionally, as the generation most likely planning families or already having children at home, Millennials will look for worksite child care and back-up child care benefits that attract and retain them.

2. Don’t ignore student loan debt.

According to ORC International, more than two-thirds of Millennials have at least $10,000 in student debt and one-third of those owe more than $30,000.

With the amount of student loan debt that most Millennials carry, it’s no wonder that student loan repayment programs are a powerful incentive for their recruitment and retention.

3. Address financial wellness.

Millennials have a significant amount of financial stress:

  • 7 in 10 carry balances on their credit cards, with 45% using those credit cards for monthly expenses they couldn’t afford otherwise. (PwC)
  • Almost half (47%) of Millennials don’t have $2,000 in savings for emergencies. (Harris Poll)
  • Half (52%) of Millennials have experienced a “cash trap” in the last three months, meaning that they’ve had to borrow money or dip into savings to make it to the next paycheck. (Varo Money)

The good news is that Millennials want help managing a range of financial matters. The number one issue they are concerned about is saving for retirement, followed by developing good general savings habits and paying down debt. And of all the generations, Millennials are the most amenable to participating in financial education programs, with 92% saying they would use such a wellness program at work if one is offered.

In addition to financial education programs covering budgeting, debt management, buying a home and starting a savings plan, benefits such as employee purchase programs and employee discount programs help Millennials access products and services they need and want in a more financially-disciplined manner.

4. Show them the value.

Millennials either aren’t aware of or are confused by many of their benefit options -- so they don’t use them. They have low participation rates in employee benefits and are less likely to know about their employees’ benefits than other generations.

What works to engage Millennials with their benefits? Millennials want “pull” communications. They want access to information all the time, via mobile, tech-friendly products that fit with their lifestyles. And they need to see the value. They need an explanation or illustration on why it matters --how a particular benefit will help them now or in the future.

5. Communicate their way.

Communicating with Millennials should be done in a way that will make the most impact, capture their limited attention spans and stand out among competing information. Because Millennials spend so much time on their smartphones, their benefits education and enrollment process should be provided on these devices, in a format that’s simple, in bite-size portions, and familiar to them.

Work open enrollment information into their daily news feed, sharing information that’s easily accessed from their phones, where they can quickly scan and click embedded links to a site where they can take action. Capture their attention via texts, ad tiles, banners and videos. Personalize and humanize messages as much as possible. Instead of using third person, address them directly, using the word “you.”

Include real-life benefit examples that allow Millennials to better understand. Hearing from their peers can make an impact, so create a brief video of a Millennial employee talking about a specific benefit.

Download our Guide to Millennials: Hiring Them and Keeping Them for more insights.