Training, Benefits Can Bring Millennials Around
Maybe it's an age thing.
An annual survey by the Center for Professional Excellence notes that the perceived professionalism of entry-level (and thus usually younger) workers by their managers has slipped during the past five years, with about 45 percent of those polled saying their employees' work ethic has worsened, according to a report by Workforce magazine. Respondents cited a "too-casual" view of work (87 percent), workers not being self-starters (72 percent) and "a lack of ownership in one's work" (69 percent).
The survey reflects an emerging trend that poses a tough challenge to HR professionals: how to encourage "millennials" -- today's youngest workers -- to adapt and succeed within a company's business culture.
The first step, according to Joel Gross of Coalition Technologies, is to train young workers from the start on what is to be expected in their jobs. Aaron McDaniel, an author and millennial himself, agrees.
"We haven't necessarily been taught how to be successful in a working environment," McDaniel told Workforce.
Creating a strong line of communication about expectations is only part of the equation when trying to elevate the performance of millennials. As with most employees, compensation can serve as a strong motivator for millennials, as well.
After seeing wages stagnate during the recent economic recession, today's young workers say they prefer guaranteed salary increases over benefits -- a shift from employees who came before them -- according to a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). In prior studies, medical insurance benefits topped the list for young workers as the most important form of compensation, according to Edwin Koc, a director at NACE.
"We've basically asked the same question since 2007 and far and away, employer-paid medical insurance was the No. 1 benefit that they were seeking," Koc said in a FOX Business report. "[Now] they want to be assured that their starting salary is not going to be what they have for the next five years, but that they can actually move up a little bit."
While salary is always a major factor in compensation discussions, employers should be diligent about educating workers about the value of other employer-sponsored benefits, experts say. This includes the importance of health coverage (even for young and seemingly healthy workers), retirement plan options and even tuition reimbursement, if the company offers it.
Employers also should be open-minded if millennials make suggestions about new benefits that would work for them, said Tracy McCarthy, chief HR officer at SilkRoad.
"I appreciate when employees ask this and I take it as an opportunity to help less-seasoned employees understand business financial concepts and how benefits play into the equation," McCarthy told FOX Business. "Most employees expect and appreciate transparency."