Work culture has changed in the past decade, especially with a Pew Research Center study showing that millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce. I’m sure you’ve seen one of the many articles talking about the industries that millennials have killed — which should show you the sway they hold in the business world.
But how do we keep the younger generations happy? What do modern-day workers want? And how can we make sure our industry survives the current changes to work culture (and the future ones coming along with Generation Z)?
Every generation has a bit of a pendulum swing, and I believe many millennials are swinging back from “stuff” to “experiences,” which means they are more interested in enjoyment than money. In my opinion, this means many of them are more interested in perks than raises.
Let’s take a look at the four perks I believe many younger employees actually want and four ways to keep them satisfied, productive and driven.
1. WFH (Work From Home) Days
Think the “remote work” buzz will die down? I don’t believe it will because, from my experience, this is what many millennials want — and the future is only going to get more millennial!
All of us struggle with work-life balance, but where past generations might have been happier to give up some inches on the life side if it meant they gained more income, many millennials might not be so quick to make that sacrifice and give up their brunch and Netflix time. And that’s OK! In fact, it’s more than OK; it could help you keep costs low, employee satisfaction high and retention even higher.
According to a study conducted by Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom, working from home could actually boost productivity, not lessen it. So the next time your employees want “WFH Wednesdays” or even to go fully remote, let them!
2. Flexible Daily Or Weekly Schedules
Instead of giving the standard 8-to-5 workday as the only option to your employees, consider a flexible schedule. The beauty of a flexible schedule is that you can be flexible with which one you choose!
Let’s break it down: For daily flexibility, you could allow for 7-to-3 and at-desk lunches, 8-to-6 with two-hour lunches, or maybe your employees prefer coming in later and working 11-to-7. There really isn’t a wrong answer — as long as you listen to what your employees want.
For weekly flexibility, you can offer absolutely any schedule, as long as their 40 hours are met. This could look as drastic as working three 12-hour days, a half-day and taking a full day off, or it could be as slight as working an extra 30 minutes some days so you can scoot out sooner on a Friday.
You could even implement a flexible monthly schedule as long as hours are met.
The control this gives your team can be the greatest perk of all, and it can drastically help them feel more even in their work-life balance.
3. Unlimited Vacation (No, Really)
This might sound crazy to some of us, but unlimited vacation works. According to an Allianz Global Assistance survey, 33% of Americans would take a pay cut if they got unlimited vacation in return. Before you let your employees hop on a plane for six months and never look back, let’s make sure we understand what unlimited vacation truly means.
Unlimited vacation means your team can take off as much time as they want as long as they are still getting all of their work done. Additionally, your employees should still have to let you know when they’ll be out of the office. Essentially, it is meant to incentivize productivity over busywork and just grinding to meet your hours.
Think of it like having a quota you have to meet and then after you meet it, you’re done for the day (or week).
4. Actual Perks
Did you know that something as simple as providing free coffee, beer, lunch, snacks, gym memberships or beautifully styled office spaces can be enough to satisfy your team? Many businesses are taking on this model (even WeWork), which plainly shows the power of “the perk.”
According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 89% of employees under the age of 35 care more about additional perks and benefits than they do about increased pay — so why not run with it? Offer small perks that make your employees happy without busting the bank. It truly is the best of both worlds.
Give your team what they really want, which are perks! In my opinion, most millennials care more about experiences than income.
WFH days, flexibility, unlimited vacation and more — just ask what they want and plan your business model accordingly.