Increasingly, employees are expecting human resources to support them in all areas of their lives, not just a paycheck and health insurance. They want companies to help them maintain a state of wellbeing, so that they can thrive physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. They’d like help from their companies in everything from their career development to their family dynamics. They want life coaching, they want homework tutoring for the kids, they want online therapy sessions, they want a Peloton for their home office.
Younger employees want all that stuff even more than their older peers. Before the pandemic, a Gallup poll asked employees what they want most from their company. While Gen X and Boomer respondents put ethical leadership at the top of their lists, Gen Z and Millennials said the most important thing was that “the organization cares about employees’ wellbeing.”
The pandemic has put a serious dent in the wellbeing of younger employees. In Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, employees under 40 “experienced more stress and anger, lower employee engagement, and lower wellbeing than older workers.”
A TACTIC TO PROTECT AGAINST THE GREAT RESIGNATION
It’s hard to know what will tip the scale when employees are swept up in the current of the Great Resignation, but whole-person benefits might help. According to the Harvard Business Review, this trend has hit mid-career professionals the hardest. The oldest Millennials are now in their early 40s, so it’s safe to say that many of the people in that age group may be contemplating a departure. Tech companies and healthcare organizations are experiencing the highest turnover rates of any industries, so it’s particularly important for them to retain all the engineers, nurses and other high-demand employees they possibly can. Since we know well-being is a priority to Millennial and Gen Z employees, it could behoove employers to invest in more HR programs and benefits that support the whole person. (For more thoughts on retaining employees, you might like this Best Practices one pager.)
It’s not just an issue with corporate employees though. We’ve all seen the impact the pandemic has had on staffing for restaurants and service businesses. A restaurant chain we worked with has launched a program that invests in the education of their frontline employees — whether that’s help with ESL or passing the GED or paying college tuition. It could equip employees with the tools to move on to better jobs, but the hope is that they’ll be promoted to higher positions within the company.
A STRATEGY FOR RECRUITING YOUNGER EMPLOYEES
Even before the media began covering the Great Resignation, most companies we work with at Tribe were struggling to recruit enough Millennial and Gen Z employees to fill their open positions. Although providing more support for employee wellbeing can be expensive, it seems a sound strategy to keep you from competing with other employers on salary alone. And don’t underestimate the value of a few over-the-top perks that become what we call “shiny hooks” because they attract attention, even if employees don’t actually use them. For instance, we have one manufacturing client with healthcare coverage that pays for gender reassignment surgery. Even employees who aren’t likely to ever want that procedure might find it exciting that the company offers it. After all, the Gallup report cited above also found that a diverse company that’s inclusive of all people was in the top three priorities for Gen Z and younger Millennials. For an enormous array of potential shiny hooks, you might want an experiential rewards company like this one, with clients that include Glassdoor, Salesforce and Shake Shack, that lets you offer employees lessons in surfing, blacksmithing, pottery or musical instruments. They also have an entire program on rewards to support employee wellbeing.
BOOMERS AND GEN X-ERS NEED MORE HELP NOW TOO
After almost two years of Covid’s impact, the older employees in your ranks could probably use a little more support for their wellbeing as well. Long-time marriages have imploded under the pressure of quarantine. Single professionals are suffering from the extended isolation. Employees with elderly parents have been worried about their exposure to the virus. Extended work from home has brought mental health challenges like anxiety, depression and grief. Resources and benefits to help your Boomer and Gen X employees bounce back from the wear and tear of the pandemic can be a wise retention tactic for your more senior talent.
It’s a tough job market for companies right now. Competition is stiff, not just for the best talent, but for job candidates across the board. Support for the employee’s complete wellbeing may not be the whole answer, but at the very least, it’s an investment to consider.
Interested in helping employees understand how your benefits support the whole person? Tribe can help.