Eight ways to Engage Millennials in Your Workplace

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2025 three out of four workers globally will be part of the millennial generation. In other words, your workforce is evolving. And it’s up to you to evolve with it. Make sure your company understands the complexities of this up-and-coming generation so you can better engage employees and attract new talent.

First Things First: Who Are These Millennials, Anyway?

As Baby Boomers retire or move to new phases of their careers, millennials are fast becoming a workforce majority. But who are they? Here are a few key insights:

  • Born between 1980 and 1992, many millennials came of age during a financial crisis — the dot.com bust or Great Recession.
  • Nearly 60 percent of millennials have already switched careers at least once, and most say they’re not likely to stay with their current employers to retirement
  • Money is a big concern for millennials  — 36 percent depend on financial support from family and 7 in 10 young workers don’t have enough saved to cover two months of living expenses1.

Add debt to their list of concerns: Average student loan debt is $24,000 added to the fact that 20 percent of millennials carry a credit card balance of more than $10,0001. That’s quite a burden to bear.

In the workplace, millennials are a complex bunch. They tend to be confident and collaborative, yet want flexible work schedules and consistent feedback from managers. In general, they are very social and have strong opinions. They seek both mentorship and meritocracy. In addition, they are driven by a sense of community both at work and in the world beyond.

Convincing Millennials to Invest in Themselves

Millennials clearly have significant financial concerns yet many still prioritize job satisfaction over salary. They would rather love what they do than earn more. This is important to keep in mind when determining workplace benefits for your employees.

As an employer, it’s important to help millennials feel both valued and financially secure. That means engaging them differently than other groups — and really considering how to package, cater and deliver workplace programs and benefits in an effective way as a key method of engagement.

Engage Millennials with Strategies That Feel Personal and Specific

Proactively build programs tailored to millennials that will make them happier at work and, in turn, more receptive to your employee benefits message. Here are eight ways to do just that:

1. Customize Your Communications

Millennials are “digital natives,” and technology plays a big part in influencing how they receive benefits information. They expect communication to be open, easily accessible and easy to digest. Consider using digital channels like emails, podcasts, secure internal sites, private Facebook pages or even mobile apps that push notifications about benefits. And be sure to craft language that is punchy and colloquial, personal and genuine. Speak to the individual, not the group.

2. Use Numbers That Are Relatable

The idea of purchasing life insurance coverage can be daunting to millennials. So break down the costs and show that they can really afford it. Does one veggie wrap or latte a week pay for a policy? What are they paying per month, per week or per day?

3. Establish Employee Mentors

A mentorship program can go a long way towards millennials gaining trust in your company. And workplace benefits should be a part of the conversation. Consider incentivizing older employees to advise younger staff on the value of retirement savings, disability coverage and life insurance. Conversely, reverse mentorship allows millennials to feel valued by advising the more mature workers on current technology, navigating the web, and how to access benefit information online.

4. Connect Retirement to Insurance

Benefits are not just about 401k plans, so make sure to connect the dots from disability and life insurance to retirement planning. Showing the importance of security today and in retirement is key to getting millennials to participate more actively overall.

5. Adopt Community Campaigns

Millennials want to make a social impact — and they want to work for companies that share their commitment. Become involved in charity work within your community, run wellness campaigns and take service outings that bond everyone together. This creates a happier workplace and will help make millennials more receptive to hearing about other things like benefits.

6. Add Fringe Financial Benefits

Niche benefits like gym discounts are a popular way to show that companies care about the health and wellness of their employees. To really connect with millennials on other important topics, consider bringing in Financial Professionals to talk about issues like debt counseling, basic budgeting, insurance and retirement.

7. Open Up the Benefits Conversation

Millennials want to know that you’re listening. They want to feel appreciated. So when exploring digital channels for communications, make sure your strategy includes the ability for two-way conversations around benefits. Consider incorporating surveys, feedback forums and private pages that allow employees to discuss and review workplace benefits.

8. Empower Millennials

Make millennials an integral part of your company and they are likely to respond in kind. Provide them with leadership opportunities within your organization. Allow a platform for sharing their knowledge. Let them stretch their creativity and develop their own initiatives, side projects and goals. This will make your millennials more engaged, more satisfied — and more receptive to workplace benefits.

1 Pew Social Trends

Article based on MassMutual’s 2014 Webcast Millennials in the Workplace | Understand, Engage, Empower, by Farnoosh Torabi, best-selling author, independent personal finance journalist and Millennials money coach. Ms. Torabi is not an employee nor affiliated with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) or its subsidiaries.