Companies Looking for Alternative Work Perks to Lure Millennials, Gen Z

More employers are looking at alternative work perks to lure top talent from the ranks of millennials and Generation Z, as the baby boomer generation gives way to younger generations of managers, according to global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger Gray & Christmas Inc.

Companies are weighing perks such as student loan assistance, bring-your-pet-to-work days and flexible work schedules and relying less on traditional hiring bonuses and benefits as a means of making sure employees feel valued and aligning themselves with the cultural values to younger workers.

“The new age cohort of workers, Millennials and Gen Z, are attracted by options that are considered untraditional,” said Andrew Challenger, vice president at Challenger Gray.

The Chicago-based firm said 78% of companies are targeting millennial recruits, while 56% are trying to recruit workers from Gen Z, according to a recent Challenger survey.

A Challenger survey found almost 73% of employers plan to offer student loan assistance as a recruitment tool. A 2015 American Student Assistance survey found 76% of respondents reported this benefit would be a deciding factor in accepting a position.

Some companies are offering opportunities to advance education or obtain certifications.

A Corporate Executive Board survey found 255 of companies offer peer-to-peer mentorship programs, up from 4% prior to the recession.

Companies such as Intel and Zillow use sabbaticals to reward long-term employees. These breaks give employees motivation to stay at a company for a longer time.

Pet insurance is becoming another inducement for younger employees. A New York Times story earlier this year said about 5,000 companies offer pet insurance, and that sector, like any business involving pets, is growing.

Flex schedules and telecommuting is another area luring workers. According to Gallup, 43% of workers work from home at least some of the time in 2016. Flex schedules are becoming much more common in the workplace. According to a study by Gartner reported on by HRDRIVE, 40% of employers are offering flex scheduling in the form of “Summer Fridays” this year that allow employees to leave work early on Fridays.