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Employee Benefits for Millennials: What They Want and How They Want to Use Them

Millennial Benefits

Quick Look: Millennials make up the largest portion of the U.S. workforce – and they want benefits and perks that complement their lifestyle. From a comprehensive 401(k) plan to pet insurance, here are the most desired employee benefits for millennials, and how to make sure they’re taking advantage of all their benefits have to offer.

The millennial generation – the largest in the U.S labor force – came of age at the same time as the internet, may have a family or plan on starting one, and are more focused on retirement than previous generations. Not surprisingly, the benefits they desire reflect all of this, and it’s imperative that small- and medium-sized (SMB) employers like yourself understand who millennials are, what benefits they want, and how to help them make the most of your offerings.

Who Exactly are Millennials?

Before we dive into which benefits millennials value the most, it’s important to understand which people belong to this generation.

The lines between generations often feel blurry, and while many people may assume millennials are just starting out in the workforce, that’s simply not true anymore. According to Pew Research Center, the oldest millennials were born in 1981 and the youngest were born in 1996. That is, the youngest millennials are now about to turn 26 – meaning many have been working for nearly a decade.

Which Benefits Do Millennials Want?

It’s important to understand which benefits millennials are seeking. It’s reported that 75% of adults ages 18 to 34 believe that job hopping is beneficial. To retain this large, talented portion of your workforce, you need to offer them the benefits they want. Employers should consider offering:

  • Medical benefits that make sense: Many millennials are grappling with student loans and have children and aging parents to pay for, making a competitively priced medical plan essential. Additionally, 74% of millennials report they’d rather see a doctor through telemedicine than in person, so telehealth options should also be offered.
  • 401(k) retirement savings plan with a company match: Saving for retirement is a priority to millennials. In fact, on average millennials started saving for retirement at age 25, compared to Gen X who began saving at age 30, and baby boomers who began at age 36, according to a Wells Fargo report. Attract millennial-aged talent – and keep your current millennials happy – by offering a 401(k) savings plan and a company match to help them maximize their investment.
  • Student loan repayment: According to recent data from Education Data Initiative, a collective 14.8 million millennials carry an average of $38,877 of student loan debt per borrower. Offering a student loan repayment program can greatly reduce your millennial employees’ stress and help them pay down their debts faster.
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP): In 2017, one-third of millennials and Generation Z were receiving therapy – a number that has surely increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can lighten your millennial workforce’s mental load by providing free, anonymous help with issues like stress, grief, family programs, psychological disorders, substance abuse, and more.
  • Pet insurance: Did you know that the largest portion of pet owners in the U.S. are millennials? That’s right, a whopping 32% of all pet owners are millennials, making a pet insurance benefit a must-offer.
  • Flexible working schedule: When it comes to how many millennials want to work remote or on a hybrid schedule, the statistics are staggering: 74% don’t want to go back to the office five days a week ever again. A flexible schedule is becoming a must-have and to attract and retain millennial talent, you should consider offering it if possible.

Encouraging Millennials to Use Their Benefits

So, you’ve dedicated time, energy, and resources to developing the perfect benefits package for millennials (and hopefully the help of a professional employer organization (PEO) like ExtensisHR made it an easy, smooth process). Now, how do you educate them on and encourage them to advantage of these offerings?

Continual Training

Training is key when it comes to educating employees on their benefit options.

Be sure to hold a comprehensive (yet understandable) benefits trainings with all new hires. Review which benefits you offer, plan tiers, premiums, and situations in which different plans may be more useful than others. If you partner with a PEO, they may have dedicated resources who can conduct one-on-one new hire benefits trainings.

Just as important is the task of keeping longer-term employees up to date on their benefit options. Send informational updates via email and add to your company intranet when benefits are either updated or added and offer training sessions on these changes.

Intuitive Technology

Millennials grew up with technology – and they expect navigating their benefits to be just as seamless as scrolling through social media on their smartphones.

You can make this happen by leveraging a modern human resources information system (HRIS) designed for today’s mobile-first, distributed workforce. Included in this employee-facing system should be:

  • The ability to review benefits options, enroll in plans, and view current elections
  • Paystub access and detailed earnings, withheld tax, and deductions information
  • Federal and state tax withholding information and the ability to update as needed
  • A complete help center with live chat and how-to guides
  • A learning management system full of relevant training modules
  • A mobile app that allows full functionality
  • And more

Make the Most of Your Millennial Workforce with a PEO

Is your checklist for attracting and retaining millennial workers feeling a little lengthy? The help of a PEO like ExtensisHR can help. We specialize in helping SMBs like you provide Fortune 500-level benefits, including medical, dental, and vision insurance, 401(k) plans, student loan repayment plans, pet insurance, and more.

And it doesn’t stop there – ExtensisHR’s Work Anywhere™ platform enables your employees to securely manage critical HR tasks like payroll, benefits, recruiting, compliance, and more – from anywhere, at any time.

Ready to get started optimizing your employee benefits for millennials? Contact our experts today.

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