August 07, 2018

Rewards that work for your millennial and Gen Z employees

Along with the influx of a younger generation of workers comes the need for evolving reward programs to include new perks. Read on for our tips when it comes to tailoring rewards for the millennial and Gen Z workforce.

Kelsey McGillis

Kelsey McGillis is a writer at Ceridian's Toronto office. An avid reader and writer, she studies English and Communications at the University of Toronto.

A big part of an HR leader’s job is knowing how to adjust your strategies to accommodate the specific needs of the people working in your organization. How are your employees unique in today’s workforce? What makes them stay engaged, motivated, and productive on a daily basis?

Along those lines, one all-important question is how to provide praise and rewards for employees – this, too, can depend on their specific needs and wants. Workplace culture is certainly changing, and the way employers reward their people must evolve along with it. 

What’s important to younger workers?

With 63% of workers under 30 responding in Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent that the optimal amount of time to be employed by a company is under five years, this demographic is less likely to be loyal to their jobs long-term. The report also found that 20% of young U.S. respondents and 22% of young Canadian respondents said that lack of interest would be their main reason for wanting to quit a job, as opposed to 15% of the general population.

These findings mean that keeping millennials and Gen Z workers interested and engaged is especially crucial. A huge part of feeling engaged at work comes not only from the work itself, but the company’s environment and culture. Recognition is a key part of that, which we covered in a previous post.

Perks and rewards for a job well done can go a long way in brightening the employee experience, such as days off, free meals, and tickets to concerts and sporting events. For employees who have particular interests and priorities, you can shape and personalize rewards to suit their lifestyles.

How can you give effective motivation and recognition to the millennial and Gen Z employees among your ranks?  Here are a few ideas:

Opportunities to give back

Millennials value their impact on society and the ways they can change the world. Focusing on social impact, a great perk for these employees could be granting leave for volunteering.

Additionally, millennial employees might appreciate more opportunities for leading Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Being part of a company that has value to society is extremely important to the younger workforce. Meanwhile, the benefits of CSR can extend to the whole company.

Tech upgrades

An often-overlooked factor in keeping younger employees satisfied at work is access to updated technology. In a world dominated by smartphones and social media, keeping your employees happy often begins with technology. Offering company-wide discounts for phones and other technology is a great place to start, especially when paired with stipends for personal phone plans and internet.

Another great incentive for younger employees is allowing use of their personal phones for work purposes. In a world dominated by iMessage and Facetime, millennial and Gen Z employees might feel dragged down by the corded phones found in many cubicles. By allowing integration between work communications and their personal phones and laptops, millennial employees may feel more comfortable and motivated.

A final idea when it comes to digital perks is offering tech-centric giveaways and treats. For example, Netflix or Spotify membership offers or rewards can be great for those always-plugged-in employees.

Opportunities for personal growth and development

It’s well-documented that millennials put a major focus on their own personal growth and wellness. With this, physical, mental, and intellectual well-being are increasingly of value to young workers.

So how can employers create an environment that encourages and supports employees in their personal journeys? To begin, flexible hours and time-off policies are crucial to give them time to pursue their hobbies and personal endeavors.

Additionally, employers can support all-around well-being by offering complimentary or discounted fitness memberships. To the same tune, encourage mental well-being with on-site opportunities for meditation and yoga sessions. Overall fitness not only improves an employee’s workplace experience, it can also help them focus at work.

A final way to foster personal growth and happiness among employees is by encouraging continued education and training. By offering stipends for courses and programs, employees gain not only new, valuable work skills, but also confidence.

Tailoring rewards to your employees, particularly when you have a multi-generational workforce, helps to make them feel accepted and embraced. Adapting not only the work itself but a workplace’s culture and environment can make a world of difference.

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