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Employee Wellbeing

Why You Should Focus on Millennial Wellness to Drive Engagement and Retention

Melissa Morse

Content Specialist, BLR

Millennials comprise the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. When tailoring your engagement and retention strategies to their needs, one area to focus on is well-being through employer-provided benefits.

A recent Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield report noted that “Millennials are seeing their health decline faster than the previous generation as they age.” It’s not just physical health that’s on the decline; mental health is also deteriorating.

When employees suffer from physical and mental health issues, they’re prone to higher absenteeism rates and lower productivity, impacting your bottom line. What can you do as an employer? Start by reviewing and adjusting your benefits offerings to engage and retain your workforce.

Financial wellness planning

Millennials under financial stress can have a negative impact on an employer in many ways. They may come to work distracted, which could mean they’re less productive or more likely to make mistakes. They may become easily agitated, leading to other workplace issues. They may even take more sick days due to stress (and resulting physical problems) or to handle financial issues.

To combat the financial stress millennials face, employers can implement a variety of offerings:

  • Financial counseling such as debt or credit counseling, eldercare counseling, or even tax advice or a session with a financial adviser.
  • Retirement plan options like a 401(k) can help employees save and relieve the stress associated with saving for retirement. Employers that offer a contribution match make an additional investment that can reduce financial stress.
  • Student loan repayment assistance will help Millennials get out of debt and put their worries at ease.   According to Business Insider, Millennials in the graduating class of 2018 have an average student loan debt of $29,800 and an average net worth of less than $8,000, making them more financially worse off than any other generation.

Voluntary benefits for all stages of life

Millennials make up a diverse range of ages. The oldest Millennials are reaching their 40s, starting families, and buying homes, while the youngest are in their early 20s and just starting out in their careers. Although health care is an important benefit to offer workers of all ages, Millennials require unique benefits to keep them engaged and retained. Here are a few benefits to consider:

  • Paid parental leave, not just paid maternity leave, will appeal to older Millennials are starting families. This benefit also eases the stress of working parents who may need to take time off to attend their children’s school functions.
  • Professional development opportunities or training opportunities will keep this generation skilled and engaged for decades, especially essential skills now only lasting around 5 years on average.
  • Flexible working arrangements are great for all parties involved — they’re of low to no cost to employers and are great for Millennials’ well-being. Allowing workers to work at their convenience will keep them happy, less stressed, and sticking around longer.

These are just a few ideas to keep your millennial workers happy and engaged. To find what works best for your workers, consider polling them to see which wellness benefits they want most.

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