Research reported by the Execu Search Group shows that flexibility may very well be the key to keeping millennials engaged. Allowing more vacation time, better training and a more flexible work schedule, including the ability to work at home when needed, are keys that will make young people happier and more productive. The SHRM says that more companies are offering these benefits in order to retain young workers in today’s competitive labor market.
According to the American Time Use Survey released recently by the Department of Labor, Americans spent more time working and less time sleeping in 2016 than in 2015. On average, men and women 15 years of age and older worked about 8 more minutes each weekday and slept for about 5 minutes less than they did in the previous year. Labor officials view this as an indication of a healthier job market. Millennials worked an average of nearly 5 hours per weekday in 2016, their highest level since 2011.
After numerous articles advocating technology and social media as the only sources of information valued by young workers, a recent study by MetLife has shown that nearly two-thirds of millennials favored a one-on-one discussion with a benefits specialist when trying to understand their employee benefits.
Believe it or not, millennials even lead other generations in consulting with family and friends on benefit-related issues, showing that they value the personal experience when it comes to complex matters. Because they have become accustomed to the way technology streamlines information, they are looking for the facts without a lot of fluff. Nonetheless, one-on-one consultations and phone conversations are proving to be effective in giving young people the personalized information they need to understand their healthcare benefits and make informed decisions.
If you’re asking why the number of young adults enrolling in health plans post-ACA is falling, consider economics. Not only have many young people remained on their parent’s plan to age 26, but student debt and a slow, economic recovery have also taken a toll. This is especially troubling when you consider that people age 18 to 34 will represent half of our workforce by 2020 and 75% by 2025.
While economics is involved, we must know where to find young people before we can move them to act, so taking time to learn their likes, dislikes and habits is a must. And no habit is more popular among young adults than media. Individuals age 18 to 36 spend nearly 18 hours a day using smart phones to engage in social media, music, videos and gaming. They’re accustomed to shopping online for virtually everything and they expect quick answers with comparative pricing.
Keeping things simple is critical, as shown by a 2015 National Bureau of Economic Research study that revealed that offering just one health plan will produce better results than offering many options.
Millennials love sight and sound, so short, light or funny educational videos that simplify benefits or wellness may go a long way. Lasting relationships will develop if education and communication are ongoing. The time to get serious is now, because they are here and chances are most will expect to manage their health and healthcare the same way they do everything else – with technology.