Friday, November 16, 2012

Guest Post: 5 Benefits that can Attract Young Workers

Our guest posts continue with this post from Nadia Jones on benefits you can put in place to attract young workers. Nadia Jones is an education blogger for onlinecollege.org. She enjoys writing on topics of education reform, education news, and online learning platforms. Outside of the blogging world, Nadia volunteers her time at an after school program for a local middle school and plays pitcher for her adult softball team. She welcomes your comments and questions at nadia.jones5@gmail.com.
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What's Happening 

A culture clash is almost always certain to occur between generations, but such episodes usually play out within families. Consider this stereotypical scene: grandparents disapprove of the younger generation's attitude and music, and younger generations find their elders stuffy and preoccupied with standards of the past. Today, America's workforce is undergoing a unique transition. The Baby Boomers are retiring, and the Echo Boomers are filling the gaps; and offices around the country have become stages for generational conflict as the two age groups are forced together.

Why Businesses Should Care 

Experts have reported that these two headstrong generations have had difficulty finding common ground, but such clashes are being resolved as the priorities of the Millennial generation are becoming more clear. Much attention has been paid to this particular generation as it is estimated that by 2025 Generation Y will account for 75% of the global workforce. For forward-thinking companies that hope to prepare for the future, understanding this generation is a key to long-term success.

Millennials Seek Work-Life Balance 

The most resounding value of the Millennial generation is an increased need for work-life balance. Younger workers are willing to invest time and energy into their companies, but they also expect benefits that support healthy lifestyles and personal fulfillment. While this might sound like an impossible or inappropriate expectation, such balance can be offered to all workers, and it begins with benefits.

1. Health Insurance -- Millennials are approaching entry-level positions pragmatically and are paying close attention to details other than salary. In some cases, a job without adequate benefits is a deal breaker. Younger workers understand the financial implications of living without health insurance, and they view affordable medical treatment as an essential element of a well-balanced life. A company that wishes to recruit Millennials simply must offer a comprehensive and affordable benefits package.

2. Retirement Plan – You may not expect a worker in his 20s to be adamant about a 401K or IRA, but coinciding with an increasingly pragmatic viewpoint, the younger generations are looking ahead. With government programs like Social Security and Medicare in a bind, these young workers are planning for increased financial independence during retirement. Offering such a benefit is not only a great way to recruit Millennials, but to retain them as well.

3. Paid Time Off-- Whether it's for a doctor's appointment or to take a weekend road trip, Millennials are seeking more PTO to manage health and to fulfill personal goals outside of work. Studies show that many workers, not just Millennials, would opt for a lower salary in lieu of more time off. This priority represents a shifting demand in lifestyle support from personal income to personal time.

4. Flexibility -- Millennials are willing to make major investments in their work, but they would like the freedom to tackle projects on their own time and in an environment of their choosing. Companies that are in sync with these work habits are flexible with start and end times and allow employees to work from home when feasible.

5. Opportunities to Learn -- Whether it's an in-company training program or a certified online course, members of Generation Y seek professional development through learning new skills. But learning doesn't have to come from a formal source. Younger workers naturally crave feedback and advice from more experienced co-workers and superiors. Companies should never overlook mentorships as learning opportunities for new workers, and if additional learning programs are within the budget, workers of all ages should be encouraged to learn new skills to increase competitiveness.

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