9 Tips for Designing a Benefits Plan for Millennials


Millennials have been the largest demographic in the workforce for two years now, and their needs are different than the generations before. They want things out of their benefits package that previous generations didn’t demand. And if you want to be able to attract and retain millennials, you’ll have to design a plan that fits what they want. Here’s how.

  1. Offer Some Flexibility

Millennials don’t want to be stuck in the office all day every day. Most millennials—77 percent of them, in fact—say flexible work hours would make them more productive. It’s been shown that they’re right, too. Working remotely can increase both productivity and employee satisfaction. Removing the stress of the commute and distractions in the office can help immensely.

Consider offering the opportunity to work from home a few times a month or one day a week. If you can’t commit to your employees totally working remotely, more flexible work hours are desirable, too. Maybe they can come in late one day and stay a bit later another. Millennials just don’t want the rigid structure of the normal 9-to-5.

  1. Embrace Their Four-Legged Friends

About two-thirds of millennial employees own pets, and over one-third of Fortune 500 companies are now offering pet insurance in benefit packages. This generation is waiting to have children, and they’re getting pets instead.

Offering pet insurance is a good way to show you care about your employees and their needs. Other employers let millennials bring their pets to the office, so they don’t have to feel guilty leaving them home all day. Pets are a big part of a lot of millennials’ lives, so being pet-friendly is a big plus for them.

  1. Acknowledge Exceptional Performance

Millennials want to know how they’re doing at work. They want regular performance reviews so they can make adjustments accordingly. They also want to be rewarded for going above and beyond.

Growing up in the age of the internet and social media, millennials have gotten used to instant gratification. If they’ve done something to earn commendation, let them know ASAP. Financial rewards are always an option, but there’s something millennials put ahead of money. They want to grow and progress in their careers, so a promotion might be more highly valued to them than a raise.

  1. Provide Great Health Insurance

This generation values health insurance very highly. More than two-thirds of people aged 18-30 say it’s very important for them to have health insurance. Millennials feel adamant about taking care of their mental health, too. It’s important their health plans include coverage for mental health services.

Another great option for millennial health plans is offering what’s called a cafeteria plan. The employer allocates a certain amount of money for the benefits the employee chooses. If they don’t need or want vision coverage, they can use that for dental or something else instead.

  1. Promote Wellness

Millennials value their health and want healthier choices. This includes work. While some companies offer a gym and healthy meals, millennials want employee wellness programs complete with incentives for participating. Popular options include:

  • Healthy-eating competitions
  • Company-sponsored exercise
  • Programs that help people quit smoking or drinking

Employers can offer things like gift cards or lower premiums on health insurance. Employees want to know employers are invested in them and care about them — that’s the company they’re going to want to stay at.

  1. Give Perks and Extras

Millennials value a good company culture. With work and home life blending more than ever, it’s also important for them to get along with other employees and enjoy work. Try offering employee bonding events like happy hours, concerts or dinners. Millennials highly value experiences over things, so cater to that.

In the office, millennials love things like meals being provided or barbecues on site. Ping-Pong tables or games for break time are also valued. They don’t want a harsh office environment. Collaboration workstations, comfortable seating and funky décor can help them feel like they’re in a place they enjoy instead of trapped in a cubicle.

  1. Insist on Parental Leave

Paid parental leave shows a company is family-oriented and cares about its employees. Women are also more likely to continue working after giving birth if paid parental leave is offered.

And they don’t just want leave for mothers, either. It’s important to open up parental leave for fathers as well. Millennials won’t hesitate to quit a job if it doesn’t have paid parental leave. Eighty-six percent of them said they’re less likely to leave a job if paid parental leave is provided.

  1. Encourage Professional Development

Millennials don’t want to stop learning once they graduate. In their jobs, they want to constantly be learning new skills and expanding their knowledge. They want companies to invest in their futures and encourage them to be the best workers they possibly can.

Whether this is through educational assistance for further degrees or training within the company, encourage employees to continue learning and honing their skills. They don’t want to remain stagnant in a job for their entire lives.

  1. Pay Attention to Financial Benefits

Millennials are worried about retirement plans and investment options. They’re highly invested in their retirement, and many have already started saving for it. They’re asking detailed questions in interviews about retirement plans and options.

They want investment opportunities they can take into their own hands. And they value retirement plans matched by company funds. They want to feel valued, but they also want the flexibility to choose their investment opportunities.

Millennials make up the bulk of the workforce, and if you want to retain them, benefits are important. Look into creating a comprehensive benefits package that reflects the things millennials value the most.

About the Author:

Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks, a career and happiness blog. As a freelance writer, Sarah enjoys writing about a variety of topics from career and business to healthy living. Catch her on Twitter @SarahLandrum for more great advice.

Photo Credit: Pexels

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