Millennials are flooding the job market and more and more employers are discovering that the traditional benefits are no longer hooking new talent. As a result, strategic risk and insurance adviser firm Crystal & Company took a hard look at what benefits are attracting new and young talent and what is attracting young talent on the west coast compare to the east.
Michael Grant, executive managing director of employee benefit services at Crystal & Company, says many of their clients on the west coast, particularly in the technology industry, are seeing employees demanding more flexible schedules and innovative perks that integrate with daily living practices, while on the east coast their clients are offering increased life insurance and additional disability.
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“Some of the lifestyle perks like gym membership, flexible or additional vacation, and flexible hours are the big thing that we are seeing on the west coast,” Grant says. “On the east coast, many of our clients are financial service-based, or ‘white-collar,’ and many of the employees are looking for a more comfortable work environment.”
Grant says companies have been offering spaces such as, “time-out” or gaming rooms for employees to relieve some of the stresses they might feel while on the job. This also includes the expansion of cafeteria lounges.
“We are seeing massage therapy, an onsite chiropractor and once-a-week meditation classes,” he says. “More of the cafeterias are increasing the offering of healthy snacks like fruit or providing modified vending machines that offer more health-conscious foods.”
Clients particularly in the non-profit sector are taking a strong interest in the wellness field when considering how to keep their employees motivated and healthy.
“Our non-profit clients are asking for much more implementation of wellness programs,” Grant says. “Not only providing the traditional competitions for weight loss, but certainly on sight practitioners to make [check-ups] more convenient and easier.”
To add to the wellness track, Crystal & Company’s clients are seeking health improvement incentive programs, which can provide a contribution decrement for employees who might quit smoking or commit to losing a certain amount of weight.
“We are seeing an increase in weekly fitness programs and the employers are contributing to them,” Grant says. “Many are offering anywhere from $40 to $60 a month to gym memberships as well as fitness challenges where clusters of folks in the offices are gathering together and the winner will receive a prize like an Apple Watch, for example.”
Grant says that between the west and east coast many of the unique benefits being offered are very similar with very minor changes based on the demographics in the workplaces.
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“I think at this point, the innovative perks, while they are popping up across the country I think you do see a kind of variation between west coast and east coast,” Grant says. “When we talk about the flexible schedules out on the west coast, some of those in California have been a paid maternity leave, increasing casual dress days to more than just Friday, offering half-day work days before a holiday.”
Many millennials are seeking an increase to the amount of vacation time they can have and as a result are being given the choice to buy additional vacation time or forgo another benefit such as group life insurance or disability for more vacation time.
“I think the young girl or guy in their 20s are thinking, ‘yes, that’s nice that I have life insurance, but nothing is going to happen to me and I’d rather have an extra day to go down to the Bahamas,’” Grant says.
While millennials may be sacrificing their life insurance and disability for a few more days off, this does not mean that the traditional benefits are going away anytime soon.
“I don’t see traditional benefits going away, but I see a larger array of offerings being offered to the employee base,” Grant says. “Depending on where the employee is at in their life cycle, there will be something that is more interesting or attracting to them.”
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