Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The New Standard for Keeping Millennials Happy at Work

Buying employee loyalty can be easier than you think

A strong pat on the back and a reassuring word no longer cuts it when it comes to keeping millennials happy at work.

More than three-quarters of U.K. workers age 18 to 24 say company perks are crucial to their job satisfaction, according to a survey released this week by Perkbox, a company that sells employee gifts. Only about half of baby boomers in the U.K. tied their job satisfaction to the goodies, the survey said.

Amazon gift cards, for example, are the physical representation of a caring, sharing employer, said Saurav Chopra, co-founder of Perkbox. Skyscanner, an Edinburgh-based flight comparison site, gives employees discounts at local sandwich shops and hairdressers. Airbnb provides employees with $2,000 a year good for spending on properties on the home-sharing site anywhere in the world.

“Millennials see this as something employers should do as standard, whereas older employees see it as a bonus,” Chopra said.

Genie Powers, 32, of Manchester, weighed her options carefully before taking a job offer from online car marketplace Auto Trader Group. She was impressed with the small things, like a pre-tax program to pay for parking, an employee wine club and company-funded private health insurance.

“Not every employer does this,” she said. “There’s something about the offers that attracted me to Auto Trader in the first place.”


While enticing new hires is key, the primary goal of Auto Trader’s employee benefits scheme is to keep employees from jumping ship, said Christos Tsaprounis, the company’s head of human resources.

Millennials see this as something employers should do as standard, whereas older employees see it as a bonus.

In an increasingly competitive working world, buying your employee's loyalty could be a wise investment.

Fully a quarter of millennials expect to have six or more employers in their lifetime, according to a PwC survey. Nearly half of millennial workers told Deloitte this year they want to switch jobs in the next two years.

Figuring out how best to acknowledge an employee’s contribution is difficult, said Charles Cotton, performance and reward adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. But he warned that employers should be careful: One-size-fits-all rewards won’t work.

“If money is tight, it can take the form of a simple thank you or a couple of extra paid days leave,” he said.

Overall, 69% of workers tie their satisfaction at work to the perks and benefits their employers offer, according to the Perkbox survey of 1,000 British workers.

Businesses that aren't dishing out freebies to workers should probably rethink their strategy: More than a quarter of employees say not being rewarded for good work actually makes them resent their employers, the survey found.

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