Employers looking to attract and retain the best gen Y talent can start by learning to speak their language—and this doesn’t have to mean signing off emails with “g2g-ttyl.”

“Benefits” has a new meaning
The first step in learning to speak gen Y is acknowledging a simple fact: baby boomers may appreciate traditional benefits (such as health and dental coverage), but gen Ys have different priorities. As such, it’s not enough simply to repackage traditional benefits to enhance their gen Y appeal. A web-based self-service delivery program won’t hurt; but it doesn’t go far enough.

It’s not that gen Ys are unattracted to workplaces that offer traditional benefits; it’s just that they are more attracted to workplaces that offer benefits that appeal to their generation. They have a tendency to see their futures as such a distant part of their lives that they’ll begin to shut down at the mere mention of pensions, long-term disability and dependent health coverage.

Think global, even if you work local
Raising money at work to donate a cow to a family in Uganda may not seem like a “benefit” to baby boomers, but gen Ys want to feel that they are actively involved in the global community. In fact, support for volunteer work is one of the benefits they value most. Adopting environmentally sound practices and supporting socially responsible causes are an essential part of attracting and keeping gen Ys engaged.

Get connected
Having grown up with the Internet, gen Ys are impatient, techno-savvy and, above all, connected. Giving them the opportunity to stay connected while at work is another benefit that will earn you high points. Social media is the gen Y equivalent of a smoke break and disallowing it is a recipe for disengagement.

Having close friends in the workplace is also an important motivator and benefit for gen Ys. In fact, many choose their workplaces just to be with their friends. Facilitating social activities and encouraging your gen Ys to forge friendships with coworkers is another way to keep them around longer.

Emphasize bridges as well as ladders
Gen Ys have high expectations for personal growth, even in entry-level positions. Although pay is important, development opportunities often rank higher on their list of priorities. Many would prefer to stay at one company to grow, but if they don’t think they can do that, they won’t hesitate to move on. One way to curtail job-hopping in environments with longer timelines for upward mobility is to promote opportunities for lateral development. Helping young employees understand how their contribution affects the organization, allowing them to participate in setting directions or establishing team goals, or giving them increased cross-functional exposure will give you more mileage than many more costly benefits.

Appealing to the values of gen Ys involves not only thinking creatively about how your organization can adapt its programs, but also refocusing your messaging around these programs.

Susan Deller is a principal with Eckler Ltd. and specializes in benefits communications consulting.

These are the views of the author and not necessarily those of Benefits Canada.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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Roza Mouithsone:

Hi Susan!

Very interesting article!
We have an article regarding Generation Y on our blog:
http://blog.projectplace.com/projectblog/2011/11/29/four-things-generation-y-can-teach-project-managers/

Kind regards,
Roza

Thursday, December 01 at 10:44 am | Reply

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