If you remember the movie quote, “Show me the money!” you’ve probably been in the recruiting game long enough to know that salary is the No. 1 consideration for signing on highly qualified candidates. Or is it? It’s true that baby boomers were focused on pay rates, but subsequent generations—Millennials in particular—have a lot more than money on their mind.
A 2012 MetLife report found that 56 percent of millennials referenced benefits as a major factor in their employment decisions, while only 31 percent of baby boomers made the same claim. Sixty-three percent of millennials cite their companies’ benefits as a primary reason for staying.
These folks are far more interested in security and quality of life, which means an excellent opportunity for smaller companies to gain a competitive edge with non-traditional benefits and perks.
Consider the environment millennials grew up in, grappling with the great recession, while at the same time dealing with more child-protective policies and parental attention than any previous generation. These folks are used to having the world made safe for them, and risk-aversion is deeply embedded in their psyche.
This same group has a deep belief in giving back to the community, and they prioritize personal relationships over the pursuit of paychecks and promotions. Receiving financial support from family members well into their 30s is fairly common, which knocks annual pay rates out of first place when it comes to staying with a job.
Contrary to recent trends, today’s workers have high hopes that they will be able to stick with a company long-term, and they take notice when an employer shows interest in their career development. In fact, 59 percent of millennials indicate that they want their employer to take an interest in their long-term career development, compared to only 32 percent of baby boomers.
What Does This Mean for Your Benefits Package?
Employees want to pick and choose from a list of options, cafeteria-style, rather than being assigned leaner, more universal packages. For you, that means focusing on employees’ personal priorities. The following examples cost you very little, but they can make the difference in keeping an employee or losing them to another company.
Offer employees full access to a leader for exchanging thoughts and ideas. Mentorship programs have been shown to boost employee engagement and fast-track ambitious workers through layered organizations more quickly. There’s little direct cost for businesses that put such programs in place, and 30 percent of millennials consider mentoring programs a must-have in their organizations.
Personal Financial Planning
Pairing the services of a financial consultant with your existing retirement and/or investment plan doesn’t have to cost you a dime. Companies that can’t afford to foot the bill have the option of passing some or all of the cost on to participating individuals.
However, offering the opportunity to participate in these and other personal services, such as legal insurance and life coaching, still gives individuals group plan savings, making them a popular benefit among employees. A full 61 percent of millennials indicate they want access to these sorts of services.
Even if large donations are out of reach for your business, sharing time and talent is not. A recent survey found that 63 percent of millennials consider a prospective employer’s community partnerships when making employment decisions, and there are plenty of ways to stand out from your competition. For example, you can offer employees paid time off to volunteer independently or as part of a team branded with your business logo.
Alternatively, you can offer non-profit partners the expertise of your marketers, human resources partners and other specialists for a specific period or project. In many cases, your community partners value advice from experienced professionals more highly than a cash contribution.
The bottom line is that salary isn’t the bottom line. Your candidates have other priorities. By meeting their needs through creative benefits solutions, you can attract the best and the brightest without going over budget.