38% of the workforce are part of the Millennial or Gen Z generations. With the Millennials reaching their 40s and the oldest Gen Zers entering the workforce, it’s likely your company has encountered challenges when it comes to recruiting them. Let’s delve into the most important benefits for Millennials and Gen Z, why they are essential, and how you can better support your current workforce.
Things to Know About Millennials and Gen Zers
Millennials are Gen Z (contrary to popular belief) are hard-working and motivated financially. They also have a passion for advocacy and standing up for what is right. Thus, prioritizing racial and ethical diversity and inclusion in the workplace is essential for them.
48% of Gen Zers and 44% of Millennials feel anxious or stressed most of the time.
60% of Gen Z and 65% of Millennials said they wouldn’t take a job offering only a range of “benefits” like free lunches and ping pong tables. They want benefits that will help them succeed personally, professionally, and financially.
Why are these generations struggling?
There are a few generally accepted reasons why these younger generations have higher rates of mental health struggles:
- Technology and social media (leading to social isolation, constant comparison, and information overload)
- Political turmoil and concerns about our societies and planet
- High rates of debt
The oldest Gen Zers finished college or entered the workforce during COVID-19, leading to more stressors and isolation.
While Millennials and Gen Z have a high rate of mental health struggles, they are also more open to getting help than previous generations. 37% of Gen Z and 35% of Millennials have gone to therapy. Only 26% of Gen X’ers and 22% of Baby Boomers have sought help from a counselor.
Despite their struggles, the younger generations have immense resilience, drive, and desire to make a difference in their professional and personal lives.
What do Millennial and Gen Z employees want?
Here are the top 4 most important benefits for Millennials and Gen Zers.
- Wellness and mental health programs
- Robust financial support
- Emphasis on work-life balance
- Feedback, mentoring, and advancement
1. Wellness and mental health programs
Generally, the younger the generation, the higher the prevalence of mental health diagnoses. About 27% of Generation Z report fair to poor mental health, compares to 15% for Millennials.
Younger generations want to go to therapy. Yet, about half of people never seek the mental health care they need due to barriers to care. Obstacles like the cost of treatment, transportation issues, time constraints, and some of the lingering effects of the mental health stigma prevent people from getting the help they need.
Employers can stand out to top talent, build stronger cultures, and help make a positive difference for their employees by providing mental health services like counseling, guided meditation, and more. Here’s a guide to finding a wellness program or EAP for your team.
Many would argue that this is the most crucial benefit for Millennials and Gen Z. Their health and careers depend on getting the mental health support they need.
2. Robust financial support
The average 35-year-old has amassed $133,100 in debt.
Millions of people are struggling with massive amounts of student loan debt. Yet, only 8% of employers in 2019 offered student loan repayment assistance.
Go beyond the 401K and offer financial coaching and loan repayment services to help your people pay off their debt. More than half of people say that finances are the number one stressor in their lives; there is a need for financial education, and you can help fulfill that need.
Millennials and Gen Z care about their salary, but they also put a lot of weight on benefits—especially financial ones. The 2008 and 2009 recession, along with COVID-19, have boosted their desire to stock up some cash and invest for their future.
Many employers are also paying for their employees to go back to school.
3. Emphasis on work-life balance
When asked why they left their previous employers, Gen Z and Millennials agree that poor work-life balance was a primary reason for their departure (15% and 23%, respectively).
These generations flat out expect their employers to provide flexibility. If you employ a lot of parents, this is even more crucial.
In our digitally-enabled world, work can happen anywhere, anytime. Younger generations expect you to trust them to get their job done whenever works best for them. They want the ability to take breaks when they need them and not be confined to their cubical.
Hybrid work and mental health days can make a huge difference in employee wellbeing.
4. Feedback, mentoring, and advancement
Gen Zers are go-getters. They want to learn and grow. Give them the tools they need to do so by providing access to mentors and coaches. Provide opportunities for career advancement.
Millennials and Gen Z have a strong desire to help others grow as well! Provide opportunities to manage others as they advance and help serve those in the community while they work. Involve them in strategic decisions and pivots, ask for their feedback, and give them ownership. It’s not only is a great motivator—it helps boost morale.
Provide them the proper training so they can excel and give them room to grow.
An Open Dialogue
You don’t need to add all these benefits at once; it is an iterative process. Survey employees and ask which benefits they’d like to have. After you add one benefit, get some feedback from your team on how it has helped them.
We recommend starting with mental health benefits. Without making mental health a priority, the other benefits won’t be as impactful or helpful for employees.
Talk about mental health with your team—especially Gen Zers, who are new to the workforce and have a greater rate of mental health struggles. Talk about how you can better support them in one-on-ones.
Do your own investigating as well. Among interviewees and new hires, which benefits appealed to them most? Why did that top candidate decline your offer?
When it comes to Millennials and Gen Z, you’ll be ahead of the game if you put mental health first.