According to Gallup’s ‘How Millennials want to Work and Live’^, this elusive age group is “looking for purpose and meaning” and want to work for organisations that have a mission and purpose.

Today’s workforce cocktail of Baby Boomers, gen X and gen Y poses a dilemma in a time of intergenerational tension. The outgoing boomers attaching importance to hard work, monetary reward and tenure is at odds with the millennials’ need for purpose, flexibility and, arguably, less measurable incentives.

Here are 6 ideas when devising incentives, benefits or reward programs for millennials.

  1. Customise benefits options

    73% of millennials agreed that the ability to customise their package would be attractive to them*. One size does not fit all in a world where technology permits messaging and services highly tailored to our needs. Millennials have come to expect this level of adaptability from employers. Fluidity within benefit policies would resonate greater amongst gen Y.

  2. Flexibility

    Work–life balance is the ultimate goal for us all, and millennials are no exception. The belief that measurement of results should be based on productivity outcomes vs hours worked* resonates with this generation. Performance for millennials is less about clock watching and more about targets, so provide the freedom to get it done their way without the ‘9–5’ mentality.

  3. Learning & development

    Create open and honest forums for feedback, and true opportunities to develop. This generation is more attracted to coaching and mentorship than bosses and traditional and classroom learning^.

  4. Rapid career progression

    Results vs tenure. Seniority and length of service are less important than contribution and productivity. Thus, organisations must devise ways to offer progression based on achievement rather than based on time. This will challenge many corporate structures based on grading — adaptability and creativity is needed to cater to gen Y.

  5. Emphasis on technology

    78% said access to technology they like to use makes them more effective at work*, 59% stated that provision of this technology was important when considering a job. IT policies need to adapt to allow for this need.

  6. Global mindset

    71% of millennials expect and want to do an overseas assignment during their career*, though with bigger appetites for Western countries like UK and US against less developed countries like India, there’s an imbalance of where skills might be needed. Talent development programs need to cater for — and nurture — this new global mindset requirement and willingness to be mobile.

*Source: PwC’s report, ‘Millennials at work reshaping the workplace’.

^Source: Gallup’s report, ‘How millenials work and live’.