Using Benefits to Make Gen Y Bite

Let’s face it, sometime between 1980 and 1994 something incredible happened…


The majority of your workforce was born. Often, we are referred to as Generation Y (and depending on who you ask, unfortunately, Millennials). This is also the population of employees that have different wants and needs when it comes to benefits in the workplace. Gen Y plans on having children, focuses on diversity, looks for challenges and changes, and finds motivation through income. We have an internal battle between our “work to live” philosophy and the need for a work-life balance. So how do you get this dedicated section of your workforce to bite on open positions?

The answer is benefits. Benefits and incentives are what will sell your open positions to top Gen Y talent and even help you retain internal employees, outside of the typical salary bump.


Let’s look at some of the top benefits that in-demand Generation Y’ers want from companies:

  1. Career Development and Creative Perks – If there is one thing that is undeniable it’s that we millennials are ambitious, innovative and optimistic – and that doesn’t change in a job setting. Giving us possibilities to advance in our career paths, allowing us to venture outside of our normal day-to-day routines, and giving us the ability to be imaginative with our work will put you on the map. When these opportunities don’t happen in the workplace you’ll see an increase in job-hopping and less tenure amongst employees.


  1. Work-Flexibility and Work-Life Balance – Why is it that countries in northern Europe have some of the happiest workers?

    It’s no coincidence that these countries have also adopted maximum 9- hour work-days, 4-day work weeks, and flexible remote schedules. They’ve reported that stress and burnout in the workplace have significantly decreased, while happiness and job longevity continue to rise. Although some of these actions would be considered very extreme in America, something as simple as allowing employees to work from home or have flexible work hours would decrease employee turnover.


  1. Repayment Assistance and Retirement Planning – Generation Y is the first age group in which a great deal of us went to, or are still attending school, whether it’s on the undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral level (don’t even get me started on advanced certificates). By trying to expand our minds, the majority of us have racked up these crazy debts called student loans – maybe you’ve heard of them?

    Student loans are the bane of this generation’s existence and the reason why many of us aren’t saving for the future. Many companies offer some type of 401k plan, but it’s usually at the expense of choosing between the necessities and the future. Offering tuition assistance opportunities, loan repayment programs, and generous or 401k match contributions will reel in the large percentage of top talent that worries about their long-term being.

  1. Real PTO – Standard PTO is anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks, and this doesn’t include personal/sick days, as most companies tie in sick time into their PTO benefits. Some companies, mostly millennial based start-ups and those with a more laid-back culture, offer unlimited PTO, while other major corporate entities only offer extra days (including holidays) that they’re mandated to give, or pay for time and a half for.

    Giving workers time off options, like extra days or even unlimited vacation, would not only alleviate the pressures of taking a vacation, but it would also show that your company trusts its employees (did somebody say culture boost?).


  1. Better Healthcare and Wellness Options – Health benefits don’t need to be all-inclusive, however, they do need to make sense and cover the essentials. Many times, the health insurance provider isn’t the problem – the real issue lies in the plan chosen by the employer. Your people pay into these benefits and often get back so little, or they lose out on essential coverages, like dental and vision. Offsetting the cost for employee health benefits with a stronger company contribution looks great to potential new employees and current team members.
  2. Social Impact – Generation Y is known as “The Giving Generation,” and that concept also translates into the CSR-based benefits that most of us value in potential employers. Volunteer time off and charitable gift matching gives teams the opportunity to get involved, while also letting the company’s clients know that they actively support community outreach and impact. This, in turn, could potentially increase your company’s presence in the community and positively affect employee self-worth.
  3. Culture – Weekly check-ins, breakfast and book clubs, resource groups, bean-bag chairs, and ping-pong/pool tables are all symbolic of a company’s true culture. Gen Y thrives in strong, authentic cultures that promote fun, technological advancement, a real team environment, and a sense that our ideas are being heard.

    There is a laundry list of other benefits that companies could provide to gain attention – but when hiring top Gen Y talent these are the major factors that we look for in an organization (and can be a deciding influence on whether or not the talent that your trying to hire will bite or not). We don’t expect you to provide all of the benefits on Gen Y’s wish list, but when it comes to filling positions with the best candidates, these 7 benefits will give you a leg up in the war for talent.





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