Millennials & Rewards

A Gallup report confirmed what many have long suspected, that Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) are more likely to change jobs than any other generation. Results from a Deloitte study last year further confirmed this – 38% of South African Millennials said they would only stay with their current employer for up to two years, 30% said two to five years, and only 25% for longer than five years. Millennials now make up the largest generation in America and in South Africa they make up around 35% of the population.

If we know the workforce is increasingly made up of Millennials and we know said Millennials are inclined to move on rather quickly, then it’s imperative that our retention and reward strategies are finely honed to better suit this target group.

So, what is it that appeals to Millennials? According to research done by Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, an international incentives and engagement company, it’s recognition – ‘Millennials are accustomed to attention and praise from their earliest days, and expect regular affirmation in the workplace. They are also prepared to switch jobs earlier and more frequently than previous generations, so employers need to take particular steps to maintain Millennial engagement.’

When planning your reward strategy for this particular generation, keep the following key findings, from the Happy Millennial, in mind:

Work/life balance is paramount to the Millennial. They ranked their jobs nearly last when asked what factors contribute to their happiness. Well ahead of work were family, friends and hobbies – despite this 65% said that job satisfaction was still important to their overall happiness.

Rewards and recognition is what they feel are lacking in the workplace. While they’re mostly happy and comfortable in their jobs, only 40% of them are happy with the rewards and recognition programmes offered by their employer and 39% said their company had no such programme at all.

Affirmation is crucial to their happiness. They would rather receive recognition for a personal accomplishment than a team accomplishment, and they would rather have this recognition come from management and not peers. Millennials particularly wanted recognition for exceeding personal performance levels, and for them rewards without recognition are less valuable.

Prepaid cards, because they provide a range of choices and deliver instant gratification, are the rewards that appeal most to Millennials – an astounding 91% of them said they would rather have a prepaid card than a reward that could be redeemed online from select retailers or credit for a reward catalogue.

According to Neil Shastri, leader of Global Insights & Innovation at Aon Hewitt  ‘Millennials have a greater need to be recognized and want to be in front of management much sooner than previous generations. Being recognized and thanked by leaders in a meaningful way and on a frequent basis not only gives millennial workers a rewarding experience, but also strengthens their personal connection to the organization and encourages them to continue to be key contributors.’

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