Do your rewards speak to your zoomers and millennials?

Man hitting a ping pong ball with a ping pong racket

Money? Mental health support? Mentorship? When it comes to employee benefits, what do your millennials and Gen Zers really want to see on the table?

If you asked a Gen Zer what their perfect rewards package looks like, how do you think they’d answer?

Would they put financial perks at the top of their list? Lifestyle ones? Would they be most impressed by a company that offered them all the latest tech?

What about your millennials… similar answers? Maybe more of a skew towards the financial perks, now that the oldest of this age group are beginning to hit the big 4-0?

These generations often get pigeonholed, but the truth is, there’s no one answer to any of the above.

But because of the way the world is changing, there are definitely new trends emerging in terms of how employees want to be recognised and rewarded. There’s nothing like a major shake-up in the way we all work, especially when it’s coupled with a heightened sense of fear over the cost of food, fuel and fun, to shake-up expectations. And with under 40s being the present and the future of your business, you want to get your rewards right for them – right?

Financials first?

There may be no one answer, but there is one word to focus on with every reward you offer: wellbeing. More than anything, people want to know that whatever is on offer will make their lives better or easier in some way. Especially since the pandemic brought employee wellbeing into sharp focus.

And that’s definitely true of your zoomers and millennials. There’s a long-held perception that they care more about ‘cool’ things like flexi-hours, free food and tech than they do some of the more ‘traditional’ rewards such as pensions. But this isn’t true. In fact there’s plenty of evidence to suggest those under 40 are more financially astute than their older peers – one study by Clearpay found 63% of Gen Zers save more each month than their parents did at the same age!

They’re just as interested – if not more so – in traditional rewards than their older colleagues. You just need to present them in a way that speaks their language.

Take your workplace pension for example. How can you talk about it with financial wellbeing in mind? You might want to explain how investing can help build financial resilience and reassurance for the future. These are the kinds of messages our Gen Zers and millennials want to hear to ease their worry. Because they do worry – one recent study in the US, by digital banking platform Laurel Road, found 60% of under 40s are “constantly stressed” about money.

Other research suggests Gen Zers and millennials want advice about the future of their investments too. Standard Life asked 5,000 employees how confident they feel making financial decisions, and only around half from each age group said they felt confident. In the same survey, only around one in three said they’d done ‘a great deal of planning or thinking’ about how much money they will need to live on in retirement. That leaves a huge number who would probably welcome more education around the financial rewards on offer to them.

Personal development over ping-pong

Financial rewards aside, it’s fair to say that few under 40s these days are enticed by the promise of free lunches or office ping-pong tables. And that’s not just because office life itself looks so different these days! The pandemic merely gave ‘office perks’ a shove in the direction they were already headed – from being actual perks to becoming more meaningful benefits that promote health, wellbeing and work-life balance. That isn’t to say that the odd spa day or office jolly is never again to be appreciated, but these days employees put far more value on things like mental health support – or support that they can see helping them with their own career advancement.

In fact, personal development support is often overlooked as a workplace benefit, and yet it could become one of the most sought after perks of all. A 2021 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report (of 5,000 employees from 27 countries) found 94% said they’d stick at a job longer if it offered opportunities to learn and grow. This is a huge one to consider for your Gen Zers, many of whom will have entered the world of work right in the middle of the chaos of the pandemic. They’ll be the ones looking for mentorship – especially if they’re now working in a remote or hybrid environment and not around their peers so much. Whether you offer this now could mean the difference between turning your young talent into brilliant leaders who help drive your business forward in the future, or people who gain a few skills and then take them elsewhere because they’re just not feeling the love.

Think tech… and direct

On the healthcare front, millennials and zoomers are without a doubt more health conscious than their parents and grandparents. These are digital natives, who have grown up in an era where health and wellbeing are championed on social media. Both generations have also come to expect healthcare options that offer the speed, convenience and personalisation they’re used to. Think online access to doctors and counsellors, and app-based healthcare portals that allow them to quickly and easily see what’s available to them. They want their rewards to be digital, and direct.

Because these age-groups are so tech savvy, more and more employers are also turning to actual ‘tech benefits’ as a way to attract, retain and motivate. A technology benefit offers employees the chance to purchase the latest tech and spread the cost through their pre-tax salary. This could be smartphones, fitness watches, tablets, even the latest TVs. You can even link your wellbeing and your tech benefits together – using the tech to help drive engagement across your wellbeing platforms.

These are just a few of the ways you can tailor your rewards for today’s workforce. And the good news is, if you’re not sure whether your current rewards are hitting the mark with these generations, ask them what it is they’d like to see more (or less) of. Millennials and zoomers are the ‘open’ generations, comfortable expressing their needs and talking about most things – from money and mental health and mentorship.


For help communicating your rewards and benefits to your under (and over!) 40s, get in touch with us today!

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