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How To Design Workplace Benefits That Millennials Actually Care About

5 min read


What makes people care about being at work? 

You get different answers, depending on who you ask. 

But the truth is, people want to do good work they’re proud of, in exchange for tangible value. That is a simple, straight forward equation. There’s nothing complicated about it. That value comes in the form of  benefits.

But there’s a serious disconnect that workers are experiencing, particularly millennial workers. The disconnect happens between what companies think is valuable and what is actually valuable in the real world, beyond the marketing fluff and fancy words. Putting it bluntly, companies who have convinced themselves that their employees come to work for free tee shirts are going to be left high and dry when people start quitting because those benefits just aren’t enough to keep them. 

The ultimate benefit is a solid pay check. One that grows every year. One that pays for their lifestyle. And if you’re a company that’s people first, you’re already investing in that, and your staff know it and appreciate it. But a young staff member, a millennial employee who has a high level of stress, debt and burn out, needs time to focus on their work and push their results enough to keep climbing the salary ladder. And they need benefits that support them. 

What happens if all you can offer your staff is money?

They’ll go wherever they can get more money. 

So what do you offer them instead?

  • Financial wellness programs
  • Debt repayment 
  • Health and fitness

Any company that can offer these benefits is going to be able to compete on a deeper level to find, keep and grow their people. 

The 3-Point Checklist:

Financial Wellness Programs

This is something that we are huge believers in at Flare. Financial wellness. What is that? It’s about recognising that high levels of debt and financial worry lead to high levels of stress, that can invade every aspect of your workforce’s life, and it’s about the knowledge that those financial hardships are particularly prevalent in millennials. 

For example, we’ve collected stats that show:

  • 1 in 2 workers are living paycheck to paycheck
  • 23% have zero emergency savings
  • 85% are living beyond their means

We know that the retention and productivity impact is costing companies an enormous amount of money because their workforce are not able to perform. 

Financial wellbeing programs can include education, tools and software that help your workforce and give them the power to gain more control over their lives. Salary packaging can be a part of this, and so can workplace seminars, courses, events and community options. At Flare, we want to take that a step further and start producing actual technology that can support financial wellbeing right at the payroll level. Whatever options you choose, a great financial wellbeing program can be a huge level up for you and your staff. 

After all, you want them to earn their pay. Shouldn’t you want them to get the most out of it?


Debt Repayment

This is another area where companies are starting to be innovative around benefits. 

From Business Insider:

A 2017 study by Oliver Wyman surveyed over 3,000 households with a bachelor’s degree or more and found 45% of employees say student loan repayment is the most desirable benefit offered by a company, placing it above retirement contributions and health insurance.

If your staff are struggling with their debt repayments, imagine how incredible it’s going to feel for them to have access to a one to one repayment schedule that can have them debt free faster than they thought possible. That’s not a free lunch, it’s a lifeline, and it changes everything. 

If you’re a millennial worker trying to climb the ladder and dealing with debt, you’re going to jump at the chance of a higher pay check to keep chiselling away at the repayments. But if you’re getting actual, real world assistance from your workplace, that’s going to be an even bigger reason to stay than any pay rise. 

Health and Fitness

A lot of companies might already be offering this.

Let me rephrase that. A lot of companies might think they’re offering it. But a quick gym discount or a bowl of fruit is not a health or fitness benefit. It’s just a nice to have. It’s like getting a stamp on a coffee loyalty card. It’s there, a lot of people forget about it, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference anyway. So…meh.

A real health and fitness program takes into account the actual life and need of the employees. It’s an actual gym membership, with flexible working hours that allow you to even get to the gym, and meal plan offers that allow you to take your food and your health home with you at the end of the day.

And it goes beyond that.

It’s looking at inadequate mental health programs available in society right now and deciding that you’ll pay for your staff to access therapists and psychologists who can care for and improve their mental health, and doing it without intrusion or without compromising their personal freedom and dignity.

There are sexual and gender health options too that can allow you to offer more support to your people. There are ways that you can be a meaningful part of their lives. Those are benefits that aren’t for show. They’re for real.

The Key Part Of All This Is Caring.

If your staff are happy, healthy and wise, you’re not about to lose them all just because an overseas software startup comes along and shows them a swag bag and a standing desk. And your staff are only going to feel that way if you walk the walk and give them benefits that are important, and are designed for them, and look just as good in the real world as they do on a pitch deck or a LinkedIn workplace culture video.

Companies today have a real opportunity to change the world through their employee benefits. It’s an opportunity that we think everyone should take.

Book A Demo with Flare HR

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  What makes people care about being at work?  You get different answers, depending on who you ask.  But the truth is, people want to do good work they’re proud of, in exchange for tangible value. That is a simple, straight forward equation. There’s nothing complicated about it. That value comes in the form of […]