fireworksAs baby boomers transition out of the workforce and millennials flood in, employers need to take note of the new strategies they’ll need to attract and retain the top talent of today’s workforce. Millennials value job satisfaction more highly than previous generations, and contemporary workers who are dissatisfied with their current employers will almost certainly scout out more attractive opportunities. Any employer that wants to attract and retain top talent going forward will need to consider how they can provide their employees with the job satisfaction they crave.

In light of these developments, I’d like to offer five perks (beyond a paycheck) that employers can offer their teams in the effort to encourage job satisfaction:

1. Support Further Education for Your Employees

Millennials value opportunities for professional development, and they actively seek out employers who provide such opportunities. Education assistance programs are an excellent way for employers to fulfill that need and attract eager candidates who will benefit their companies for years to come.

However, the choice to offer this kind of benefit can be an understandably difficult one to make. It’s reasonable for employers to be wary that an employee will only stay as long as they can take advantage of tuition assistance and the like before moving on to a higher-caliber job when the opportunity presents itself.

Employers who offer educational assistance often – and, if you ask me, wisely – do so with strings attached (e.g., supported programs must go toward professional development within the company, programs must be from accredited institutions, the employee must maintain a decent GPA, etc.). Education assistance is something of a delicate investment, and obviously no reasonable employer wants to spend company funds without getting a nice return on their investment.

The good news, however, is that many worries about educational assistance programs are unfounded. A majority of employers offering education assistance report that their programs have been successful. These programs have been highly valuable in attracting, developing, and retaining skilled employees.

When you get down to it, then, educational assistance is an excellent pay-it-forward strategy that helps bring your team to its maximum potential.

2. Offer Mentoring Opportunities

gullsAnother way for employers to meet millennials’ desires for professional development opportunities is to offer structured mentorship programs. Younger hires are more likely to stay with an employer that is able to integrate them into the company culture and provide them with continuous learning opportunities. An engaging mentoring program will help to solidify a company’s culture and meet the needs of millennial workers all at once.

3. Build a Collaborative Work Environment

When polled, a vast majority of young workers were found to prefer a workplace that favors collaboration over competition. For many millennials, work is not only a source of income, but also a place of community. Employers that do not offer collaborative communities will find it especially difficult to attract and retain millennial employees.

Millennials crave professional environments that nurture the specialized dynamics of winning teams. In today’s climate, traditional (and inefficient) department borders, are gone – and that’s a good thing, if you ask the millennials.

Employers should also take measures to encourage open communication and reward the sharing of information. Doing so can facilitate a more communal environment that will improve employee productivity and retention levels.

4. Incentivize Employees to Use Company Products

Millennials want to engage in work that they can be proud of. Employers can promote this kind of pride by offering their employees easier access to their products and services.

A tremendous example of how this can be done comes from recreational vehicle manufacturer Polaris, which offers its employees free use of its products. This type of perk may not take the same form for every organization (other companies may offer company gifts or discounts), but in the end, it is an excellent way to connect your employees directly to their efforts.

5. Give Employees PTO for Volunteering

Millennials are more socially conscious than their forebears, and they prefer employers that practice and promote philanthropy. Offering employees PTO for doing community service projects is a practical strategy for employers that will help them build the kind of socially conscious and constructive cultures that attract millennial talent. Millennials feel proud when their employers encourage and support their efforts to be socially engaged, and that pride will drive them to stick around longer

treesPlus, you’ll be helping to make the world a better place with a perk like this, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

You can build the kind of culture that benefits millennial workers and your bottom line in the long term by planning and implementing more modern strategies. If you’re in need of some extra guidance when it comes to recruiting and retaining millennials, check out Rakuna’s guide to millennial recruiting.

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