The Surprising Corporate Perk That Attracts Millennial Employees

The Surprising Corporate Perk That Attracts Millennial EmployeesWhat do millennials want from their employers? It turns out, the one perk millennials value the most isn’t about getting — it’s about giving. Companies are finding that volunteering programs are helping attract and retain employees, especially millennials.

By now, most managers have gotten the memo that millennials are interested in more than a paycheck — they want to work for companies that have a mission they support and offer the flexibility to do what’s important in their lives. For many millennials, that includes volunteering, and companies are reaping the benefits of employee satisfaction when they include a volunteer component for their employees. In fact, 81 percent of the Best Places to Work for Millennials offer paid time off for volunteer work, compared to just 53 percent of companies that did not make the list.

Check out these recent stories about companies that have made volunteer work a priority in their cultures.

New Report on Millennials Shows Link Between Engagement and Cause Work – Forbes. “As Millennials engage in a relationship with a company, from the courtship phase during the interview process to the long haul of sustained employment, cause plays an important role. Millennials are increasingly engaging with causes and tend to believe that a company that cares about causes will care about treating them well, too. Millennials are certainly interested in participating in cause work, but their engagement at workplace programs isn’t always high. …this is due to a number of barriers, including not always understanding the available volunteer and giving opportunities, or not being encouraged to get involved, or not seeing how their participation matters. … companies that are adapting their CSR strategies to attract Millennials, and specifically incorporating causes into their culture, are more successful at attracting and retaining Millennials as employees.”

Millennials Are Actually More Generous Than Anybody Realizes – The Washington Post. “Millennials are by themselves giving time and money to causes that matter to them. And companies, the report argues, must adapt to this ‘seismic shift’ in giving – listening to millennials’ passions; offering employees, not just the CEO and managers, opportunities to set the company giving agenda; and giving time to employees to volunteer their skills and talents to do good in the world. … The report found that 70 percent of millennials spent at least an hour volunteering their time to a cause they cared about, with more than one-third volunteering 11 hours or more. Forty-five percent participated in a company-wide volunteer day. Thirty-two percent used paid time off to volunteer and 16 percent took unpaid time off to volunteer. Seventy-seven percent of millennials said they’re more likely to volunteer when they can use their specific skills or expertise to benefit a cause.”

The Business Case for Employee Volunteer and Skills Giving Programs – “Organizing group days of service provide co-workers (and their bosses) an opportunity to work together and get to know each other outside the walls of the workplace.There is no corporate hierarchy when it comes to hands-on volunteer activities like filling afterschool snack bags for low-income children or building a house with Habitat for Humanity. Such activities permit employees from different departments and different levels of seniority the chance to share experiences together and interact on a deeper level, resulting in stronger relationships when they return to the office. In UnitedHealth Group’s 2013 Health and Volunteering Study, 64 percent of employees who currently volunteer said that volunteering with work colleagues strengthened their relationships.It’s well known that employees want to work for companies that care. … When strategically integrated with your company’s business goals and values, involving employees in a mix of volunteer work, skills giving, workplace giving programs, and matching gift opportunities gives employees a sense of purpose, and makes them feel more connected to the community and your company-wide social responsibility efforts.”

These 10 Companies Offer Big Incentives for Volunteering – Fortune.  “We spoke with businesses who’ve committed resources to making the world a better place, including offering employees paid time off to work on projects important to them. … Stryker, a Fortune 500 medical technologies company based in Michigan, holds the philosophy ‘to give to organizations that align with our company mission and support the communities where we work and live.’… ‘We are generous about giving employees the time and flexibility they need to pursue volunteer opportunities within their communities,’ the company added. Numerous programs that employees take part in, for instance, center around healthcare. The company highlighted employee involvement in Operation Smile, a medical charity for children that helps performs safe, effective cleft lip and cleft palate surgery.”

Does your organization encourage volunteering and giving back? I’d love to hear what programs you offer 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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