Competing for Young Talent: When Snack-Sized Benefits Don't Satisfy

Competing for Young Talent: When Snack-Sized Benefits Don't Satisfy

This article was updated on July 17, 2018.

Startups are getting serious attention from prospective employees and investors alike. While workers are often drawn to hot, new organizations for the chance to get innovative and involved in something unique, there's also another way they remain relevant while competing for young talent: perks.

According to Career Attraction, "comfort perks" like bi-weekly massages, free snacks or post-work parties are popular ways to entice millennials and reach out to the upcoming generation Z. But in-office Foosball, free scooters and other "fun" benefits aren't the only specialized perks that attract young employees.

Here are five meaningful perks that can help grab and hold the attention of these up-and-coming workers:

1) Complete Coverage

Millennials view their health differently than previous generations. According to MediaPost, while 80 percent of Baby Boomers see their primary care physician on a regular basis, just 61 percent of younger workers do the same. In addition, they're more likely to use health care services that let them book online or receive mobile notifications and are more likely to ask for a discount on specific services.

The takeaway? Organizations can attract young talent by offering health plans that subsidize a significant portion of medical costs and provide online portals so they can mange their health care with just a click of a button.

2) School Subsidies

While many young workers are eager to get started in the workforce immediately after post-secondary schooling, they're also inclined to head back to campus and increase their knowledge if it benefits their career or piques their interest. This desire lays out a great opportunity for those competing for young talent. By providing tuition subsidies, it's possible to bring in the best and brightest and have them stick around for the long term. Consider the example of marketing communications firm Dixon Schwabl: They were placed on Business Insider's list of the top 25 small companies to work for in no small part because of the $27,000 in tuition reimbursement they give to their employees.

3) Adaptable Hours

Want to attract young workers? Don't tie them down with 9-to-5 schedules. Where possible, allow them to set their own hours and take time off as necessary, rather than mandating a set number of vacation days or hours per year. If you really want to stand out, you could also consider a flex policy similar to Macedon Technologies, where new employees are given free corporate housing for as long they need while getting settled if they relocate for a job, per the Business Insider report.

4) Transparent Tactics

As noted by the Chicago Tribune, while younger employees love team-building experiences like weekend baseball games and enjoy casual workplaces that offer ping-pong tables and low-key dress codes, that's not enough to attract and retain talent over the long term. Instead, it's worth investing in transparency so staff members can see they're making a difference. Here's how it works: Offer open-book management policies and let employees in on how the business really works, and then new hires will want stay in the organization because they have a clear understanding of exactly how their efforts benefit the business.

5) Meaningful Movement

Another great perk for young, talented employees is the ability to move both laterally and vertically within in the organization over a relatively short span of time. Gone are the days where employees will wait 10 or 20 years to grab a coveted top spot or corner office. Now, they want assurances that their contributions will be recognized and valued right out of the gate. By offering clear advancement paths and the ability to "try out" new positions in the organization, employers can establish themselves as front-runners rather than followers.

Snack-sized perks are great, but new workers are in the market for more filling fare. Competing for young talent means going beyond food and fun to offer meaningful benefits like health packages, tuition reimbursement, flexible schedules and organizational transparency.