ThinkingWorkplace wellness: Why a fruit box doesn’t answer millennial expectations

Joe Gaunt, founder and CEO of Hero Wellbeing says it takes more than nutritious snacks and a gym membership to attract and retain millennial talent
Sophie Barton5 years ago7 min

The way in which we do business has changed significantly in the past 5-10 years. International travel is common, the working day has evolved and technology means we are contactable and ultimately ‘on call’ 24-7.

A millennial revolution

Baby-boomers have somewhat accepted this and to an extent created this environment in which we operate, but there’s now a revolution afoot. Millennials and generation Z aren’t lying down and accepting this as the norm. They are standing up and challenging business culture and behaviour.

Businesses today are faced with an increasingly expectant workforce. Millennials hold approximately 20% of leadership roles, a figure that is only set to rise. But there are no two ways about it, millennials are wholly different from their baby-boomer predecessors.

Millennial leaders prioritise people and hold values – both personal and business – close to their heart and will make decisions based on these.

They are not motivated by achieving Director level by the age of 30 and the title of CEO means nothing.

What millennials value most is development (personal and professional), feedback, collaboration, flexibility and work life balance. Workers no longer strive to pay off the mortgage, instead they aim for experiences. The adventure of new and exciting holidays, the chance to take a sabbatical to volunteer abroad, or to trek the Himalayas.

Committed to the cause

But don’t be fooled by their somewhat ‘softer’ nature. Millennials are committed to their convictions and won’t hesitate to leave a seemingly good, well-paid role for a job with a lesser salary, if more perks and benefits are on offer.

In fact, a survey carried out by Cone Communications showed that 75% of millennials would take a pay cut to go and work for a more responsible company.

Interestingly, almost two thirds would point blank refuse to accept a job from an employer without strong CSR practices.

And this profound interest in CSR among millennials shouldn’t be scoffed at, for it has many benefits for businesses and organisations. A company with a strong CSR practices can use these to their advantage and promote them when looking to attract and retain the very best talent.

The power of social media

The same research by Cone shows that employees want to work for a company they are proud of. They also have no qualms sharing stories and photos on their personal social media channels (76% promoting their employer, compared with an average of 52% across all age groups).

For millennials, social media is an important window into their world, which allows them to portray their personal values, beliefs, experiences and emotions.

Millennials want to know they’ve made an impact on the world and a key place for them to achieve this is now the workplace.

In the same token, millennials expect more from any workplace wellness programme – a fruit box and gym membership simply doesn’t cut it anymore. For them, it is all about personalisation and ensuing your offer is technology-led.

A mobile-enabled offering

Almost 50% of millennials check their phone 50 times a day and see email as passé. Therefore, if your wellness offering isn’t technology-led or mobile enabled it doesn’t exist to this group of workers.

Millennials appreciate and crave support and development. Therefore, help guide, educate and support them to make healthier choices but give them different options and allow them to drive the final decision.

We are entering a new era.  This group of people are going to define a new style of leadership and a new way of doing business – it’s exciting and I look forward to the next few years.

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Joe Gaunt is founder and CEO of Hero Wellbeing, a digital wellness company that works with organisations to provide preventative strategies and support across physical, mental and social health.

Sophie Barton

Sophie Barton is our Features Editor. She a journalist and editor with 20 years’ experience in the national media, specialising in wellbeing and lifestyle.

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