Scrap what you think you know about millennials in their first jobs. We’re not exactly the entitled, lazy workers who expect a beer at 4:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. While that’s a nice little perk, we’re far more motivated by things like flexible schedules and opportunities to travel or work abroad. I went through the list of Best Places for Millennials to Work in America and researched the top benefits millennials are looking for. Check out what these companies are doing to make their millennial employees happy campers.
1. Lifelong Learning
If there’s one thing a millennial enjoys, it’s a challenge. Health Catalyst, a data management company, encourages its employees to quickly master new skills, innovate and recognize their mistakes. A fast-paced environment like this prevents employees from feeling bored or unimportant. Continuous challenges and learning opportunities ensure that every employee is able to contribute to the company in a way that they feel is meaningful while maintaining their independence.
2. Go Team Go
Gongos, which bills itself as a thought leadership organization, focuses on one thing: passion. While being surrounded by the boundless energy of the Energizer Bunny 24/7 may sound exhausting, to the right person, it’s just the motivation they need. Working towards a goal – in this case, helping businesses innovate – makes you feel like you’re a part of something bigger. For big thinkers with positive attitudes who believe in that mission, collaboration with like-minded people who are just as excited as you is a huge boost.
3. Room to Roam
Few words warm the heart more than open office. There’s nothing more corporate and depressing than rows of identical cubicles. The offices at DonorsChoose.org are big, sunny and totally open, with not a cubicle or corner office in sight. A setup like that promotes collaboration, but it also puts everyone on the same level. This can make communication easier too – it’s not as stressful to ask your boss for guidance on a project if you’re just leaning over the table instead of timidly knocking on his frosted-glass door.
4. Healthy You, Healthy Office
Not every snack bar needs to be full of gourmet chocolate and espresso. In fact, millennials might appreciated healthy snacks more. Tech company Centro stocks its snack room with good-for-you treats and also offers onsite nutritionists and reimbursements for gym memberships. A focus on individual employees’ well-being shows that they’re not just worker bees; they’re important and deserve to be taken care of. Besides, sometimes nothing really helps you blow off steam at the end of a rough day like a good run – especially if it’s on the company’s dime.
5. Lend a Hand
It’s a mystery where millennials’ reputation for being lazy slobs started, but it’s decidedly untrue. We tend to be great at giving back to the community and re-envisioning social good. At Internet Marketing agency WebpageFX, the team has restored local landmarks, donated to charities, and started a program called #FXBuilds. The program, which is powered by team accomplishments, aims to improve the lives of 5,000 people worldwide over 10 years. Their current project? To raise $25,000 to build a school in Ghana. Working for a company that makes an effort to volunteer in the community is a great way to give back when the usual 9 to 5 doesn’t have an inherent do-good focus.
6. Take a Load Off
Let’s face it, most of us partied as hard as we worked in college. Who says the real world can’t be the same? Companies that give their employees more time off than usual, like Assurance, score big with millennials. Assurance gives employees good options for taking paid time off and telecommuting. Even better, everyone gets their birthday off to sleep in and do whatever else they want to celebrate themselves for once.
7. You Done Good, Kid
It was always nice to get a gold star on your paper as a kid, but cash is always a better reward – especially if it’s for something you’re probably going to end up doing anyway. Boyer & Ritter Certified Public Accountants hands out discounts on course materials for employees studying for their CPA exams, paid time off to sit for the exam and a cash bonus for passing it. It also pays for employees’ professional licensing fees later on down the road. A bonus for something you’d be doing for your job anyway shows that not only do your employers understand how hard you’re working, they’re also proud of you. Here’s a pat on the back and a check. Go buy yourself something nice.
8. Family First
Time off for new parents has been a hot topic lately, and while most millennials are putting off having kids, being able to spend time with their children is still important. DPR Construction doesn’t just give employees disability leave and a generous amount of paid time off that they can use after the birth of a child. It also financially supports parents who are pursuing adoption by reimbursing them up to $5,000 of the process’s cost.
While free food and office bikes are always welcome, they’re not the only things attracting us millennials to certain jobs. A focus on the whole person and an understanding that no one’s life revolves around work are key when it comes to making us feel like we matter.