Timing is Everything: How Flexible Work Policies Can Help You Attract Millennials

Time-off work policiesIf there’s one workplace must-have for millennials, it’s flexibility. In fact, they put a premium on work-life balance (or their preferred term, work-life integration) above almost everything else – including money. Typically, we think of flexibility in terms of shortened schedules or having the freedom to work from home. But that’s not the only way that companies can meet this need. Read on to learn about growing workplace trends that are allowing millennials (and flexibility-seeking workers of every generation) to enhance their need for balance.

Radical Idea at the Office: A 40-Hour Workweek – The Wall Street Journal: “United Shore is among a group of small firms trying a radical management idea notable for just how un-radical it is: a 40-hour workweek Leaders say the ‘firm 40’ makes employees more efficient by forcing them to focus on work while they are in the office—and unplug fully when they leave. Strict work limits have helped some companies attract higher-caliber recruits, some of whom are willing to take a pay cut in exchange for limited hours, hiring managers say. A finite workday feels increasingly rare for many U.S. workers, for whom the lines between work and home have blurred in recent years. The ‘work-life integration’ policies touted by some companies enable people to head out early for a child’s soccer game or doctor visit, so long as they monitor emails on their smartphones late into the night.”

Millennials Want a Work-Life Balance. Their Bosses Just Don’t Get Why – Washington Post. “’I really see that there’s an empathy gap in the workplace,’ said Karyn Twaronite, EY global-diversity and inclusiveness officer. ‘When there’s frustration about work-life balance in the workplace, and you think your boss doesn’t get it, that very likely could be true’…’Wanting flexibility or work-life balance is the number one thing we hear all the time from candidates. It’s the number one reason why people are looking for a new job, by far,’ said Heidi Parsont, who runs TorchLight, a recruiting firm in Alexandria. ‘We’re definitely seeing more candidates asking for it. But companies still see it as making an exception. It’s still not the norm.’”

How To Win The Millennials With Paid Vacations – Forbes. “One of the ways that companies are appealing to the wanderlust generation is by offering paid travel perks. In our chronically overworked country, this is sometimes the benefit employees need most. While covering the expenses is certainly important, having your employer actually force a vacation is perhaps the critical piece of these programs. It certainly means the company walks the talk when it comes to work life balance. Tech company, Evernote, offers $1,000 of travel money to each employee, if they take at least an entire week off of work….Today, competing for top talent doesn’t simply take a great salary and traditional benefits package; it involves thinking outside and including experiential rewards that the next generation of employees is looking for. And those companies who are doing it well reap the benefits: higher quality applicants, greater engagement, and higher levels of innovation and creativity.”

Grant Thornton Plans to Offer Unlimited Vacation – Bloomberg. “‘This is a modern move for an industry where these types of benefits aren’t really common,’ said Pamela Harless, chief people and culture officer for Grant Thornton. ‘We are convinced it will help us to be far more attractive in retaining talent as well as attracting talent.’ U.S. companies, feeling the pressure to hang on to their best workers in an improving economy, are adding benefits with particular appeal to the Millennial generation, workers now in their 20s and early 30s….Grant Thornton has been working for the last 18 months to emphasize personal responsibility as part of its culture, Harless said. In December, the Chicago-based company added bonus days off ahead of a busy season from January through May, she said. After the U.S. tax season, employees created their own, more flexible schedules. Removing the limit on vacation days was the next step, Harless said.”

What time off policies has your workplace adopted — and why? Please share 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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