Tickets to the World Series, kayaking trips and even excursions to base camps at Mount Everest might sound extravagant when they are given to employees as rewards, but not to the growing millennial workforce. This group of employees ages 18 to 34 account for 34 percent of the workforce, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this number to double by the year 2025. This means that companies cannot afford to ignore this growing group of workers.
Millennials prefer to be rewarded with experiences, instead of small tokens or monetary gifts. These children of baby boomers were raised to place more importance on being validated instead of monetary gain, and they also echo many of the opinions made popular by social medial. Millennials are more likely to admire and pledge their loyalty to co-workers than companies, and they also expect their employers to remember that their lives are not always centered on work.
The workforce is changing, and this means that companies need to make sure that their rewards reflects their employees.
Happy Employees, Successful Companies
A study conducted from Bersin and Associates, a research and advisory firm noted that companies with a rewards program see employee engagement and productivity increase on average by 14 percent. This also explains why the incentive marketplace for U.S. employees is currently estimated at $38 billion.
Previously companies could keep employees happy with a standard “one size fits all” type of rewards program. Gift cards and small tokens of thanks and appreciation no longer work for this new generation of employees, they were raised to value a different type of recognition. Millennials place value on advanced training and development opportunities, easy access to their boss, and especially flexibility at work. Companies that aren’t implementing reward programs to fit their new workforce are seeing them leave.
Money Isn’t Everything
When it comes to rewarding millennials, it is important for companies to remember that money isn’t always the right gift. They not only want recognition from their bosses, but also their co-workers. Some businesses are even turning to other companies for help when it comes to creating a rewards program that will make millennials feel validated. These relatively new start-up businesses focus on creating bonus and incentive programs that will make millennials want to stay with their current jobs, and this in turn helps businesses grow their profit.
A 2014 article in the Harvard Business Review noted that millennials have an expectation that they will be appreciated and supported, and this does not always mean that money is the right reward to give. Experiences that employees will remember will inspire more company loyalty than gift cards, and this is something that every business will want to remember if they hope to retain their workforce.
As millennials continue to enter the workforce, companies that want to stay successful will have to adjust their rewards programs to fit these unique employees. Simply giving money as a reward isn’t enough anymore, and companies need to be flexible if they want to retain these valuable employees.