Timing is Everything: How Flexible Work Policies Can Help You Attract Millennials | Lindsey Pollak's Blog

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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  1. Derrick says:

    Hi Lindsey, thanks for keepin’ on! I really enjoy all that you have to say. I work with young professionals and consistently hear the things that you are writing about. In particular, this idea of work-life balance. Do you think that this is a result of hourly employees receiving the same benefits as salaried employees? Is there a cause for moving away from working over 40 hours. Personally, I identify as one of those people who is considering a firm 40 hours.

    • @Derrick – Thanks for the comment. My belief is that the increased desire for work/life balance has to do with a lot of factors — we now have the technology to make it easier to mix work and home life, changes in attitude brought on by the financial crisis, etc. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      – Lindsey

  2. Chris says:

    I deeply appreciate this content and your work, Lindsey. As a professional in my early 30’s in a sector primarily dominated by people in their 50’s and 60’s, my frustration with a lack of flexibility has impacted my career significantly. I don’t say this bragging, it’s just what I know to be true about my work – I bring a high level of skill, knowledge, commitment, empathy, and leadership to the table but I have repeatedly tried to think of alternative ways to make a good living outside of the workplace because the unwillingness to allow more flexibility (like a day of working remotely a week) is frustrating me. I genuinely don’t understand why managers or CEO’s think there’s anything remotely wrong with telecommuting in 2016. My entire job could be done remotely without even a glitch in productivity. Do you have any suggestions? Do I just continue to look for new opportunities hoping to find a better “fit?” It feels like when you value flexibility, it’s seen as some “accommodation” in the workplace, almost as if it’s shamed, and I truly don’t understand why.

    • @Chris – Thanks for sharing your frustration about a lack of flexibility. It’s something I hear often. While the overall trend is toward more flexibility, the truth is that some employers are just not ready to change their practices and cultures yet. You’ll have to decide if you want to be a trailblazer at your current organization and fight for change (generally the best argument is a financial one: how flexible work makes people more productive and helps retention) or if you’re better off finding a job with policies more in line with your needs. Good luck!

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