For businesses to get the best out of millennials in the workplace, they need to understand the unique set of circumstances they have grown up in, according to The Health Insurance Group, the health and wellbeing solution provider.
Millennials – those born between 1981 and 1995 – will represent 35% of the workforce by 2020.
The Health Insurance Group warned that if employers fail to acknowledge what drives millennials, and accommodate their needs, they risk losing out on one of the largest talent pools in the workforce.
The intermediary said millennials face unique fiscal challenges; 64% of calls made to debt management charity StepChange are from people under the age of 40. They are set to be the first generation less affluent than their parents, less likely to own a home in comparison to those born only five to 10 years earlier and have experienced the tripling of university fees.
The Health Insurance Group also suggested employers need to carefully navigate the love/hate relationship millennials have with social media.
“On the one hand it enables them to feel better connected to others (and as a notoriously sociable demographic, it’s something they deeply value) and on the other hand it has given rise to instant abuse and bullying,” it stated.
Meanwhile, although some millennials are extremely health-conscious, they are also on track to be the most obese generation yet.
The intermediary said employers are in a perfect position to help this tech-savvy generation maintain their health more effectively, such as by linking health initiatives to their smart watches and phones – enabling them to track their lifestyle and choices.
Research suggests millennial loyalty to businesses is low because of inflexibility and a focus on profit over social causes. Businesses that offer flexible working, have a strong Corporate Social Responsibility policy, and allow staff to factor in time for maintaining their health could attract and retain millennials.
Brett Hill, managing director at The Health Insurance Group, said employers need to realise the complexity of each different generation in the workplace in order to get the best out of them.
“Millennials represent a significant section of the workforce, so it’s important that businesses take time to consider how to attract and retain them,” he argued. “While a one-size-fits-all approach mustn’t be taken when it comes to looking at age demographics in the workplace, understanding the context in which an employee has grown up in can provide valuable insights into what drives and motivates them. And that can mean the difference between employee benefits really being valued, and of value to the company, or not.”