Beyond Perks: These Companies Are Getting Creative to Keep Millennials on Board

For a long time, the conversation about attracting and retaining millennial employees focused on perks. Over the past few years, companies have realized that creating a millennial-friendly environment doesn’t just mean video games and free granola bars. Employers are making significant strides in offering benefits that are important to millennials, from open offices to flexible work schedules to time off for volunteering.

In addition to these gains, companies are continuing to institute solid programs that will make a real difference in millennials’ (and all employees’) lives. Here are several unique programs that I found noteworthy, from tuition assistance to faster promotions and raises, and suggestions any employer could follow to sharpen their own efforts.

PwC Helps Employees Pay Back Their Student Loans

“There could be a new front in the perks arms race that Corporate America’s most generous companies have been waging to compete for talent. After unlimited vacation time and expanded parental leave, could helping to pay down student loan debt be next? PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global consulting and accounting firm, announced Tuesday it will begin helping its junior employees pay down their student loans next year. Starting next July, all of PwC’s associates and senior associates—roughly 45 percent of the firm’s 46,000 employees, ranging from entry-level to about six years of experience—will become eligible to receive as much as $1,200 a year for up to six years toward their student loans. The benefit will be paid directly to the loan servicer of certified student loans, though it will still count as income for employees.” Washington Post.

Goldman Sachs Doubles Down on Junior Banking Program

“Just a few years after scrapping its two-year analyst program for investment bankers, the Wall Street firm is bringing back the program in revised form. The idea is to keep junior bankers within the Goldman ranks, in part by speeding the path to promotions and relieving them of some of the drudge work that often falls to younger employees. … The firm said it would reinstitute a version of the analyst program and add a third associate year. It also said it would ‘revise the promotion timing and compensation of junior bankers.’ Goldman’s new effort is perhaps the most significant sign to date that banks are making big changes to accommodate the professional desires of the millennial generation, which has increasingly been opting out of finance altogether or jumping to Silicon Valley or other corners of Wall Street.” MarketWatch.

Companies Offer Faster Mini-Promotions and Raises

“Progress. Millennials at work are eager to see it early and often. So some clients of Mercer, a global consulting firm, have responded by changing the frequency with which they give promotions and salary increases. It used to be that an employee might progress from Job A to Job B. Now instead of one big jump after a few years, it’s broken into smaller jumps more quickly: From Job A to A1 then A2 before hitting B. And the accompanying pay raise is similarly made more incremental. ‘It’s administratively a little more complex. But it could be a win-win because you’re recognizing good performance and employees feel they’re progressing,’ Ilene Siscovick, a partner in Mercer’s talent business.” CNN.

HR Leaders Consider New Work Models to Give Younger Employees Autonomy

“Currently, 86 percent of the HR professionals surveyed said that their organization uses a traditional employment model that provides employees with specific job roles, duties and responsibilities; however, only 60 percent of respondents said they believed that this model would be used in the next 10 years. … ‘That lines up with a finding from a recent Universum study that found that 55 percent of Generation Z wants to start their own company’ said China Gorman, human capital management thought leader and former chief operating officer at SHRM. ‘Organizations are looking at the long-term financial ramifications of having full-time employee commitments and this newest generation coming up is saying, “I don’t want a full-time job. I want to be my own boss and work on projects that interest me and fit my skills, and autonomy is more important to me than structure and security.”’” SHRM

Employers Shift the Script and Look at Employees as Consumers

“[Laura] Sejen [managing director and leader of Towers Watson’s global rewards practice]  believes that it’s all about how companies can distinguish the organization and its value proposition from any other employer they’re competing with in the market for the same caliber or type of employee. … Employers need to view employees as consumers. If companies could start looking at their total rewards packages through the eyes of their workforce and think about how those employees experience total rewards every day, they would probably find there is some room for enhancements and refinements. ‘I don’t mean just throwing money at something,’ says Sejen. ‘I mean things they can do to improve effectiveness and get better outcomes from their workforce.’” Employee Benefit News.

What programs has your company put in place to make work better for millennial employees? Share below in the comments.

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, and the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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Lindsey is a globally recognized career and workplace expert and the leading voice on generational diversity. She has spoken for more than 300 audiences including Google, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder, Stanford and Wharton. Lindsey is the author of four career and workplace advice books, and her insights have appeared in media outlets including The TODAY Show, CNBC, NPR, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.


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