For benefits managers and HR professionals who value planning for the future, cracking the puzzle of how to appeal to millennials can be challenging.
This up-and-coming generation of workers, generally defined as having been born between 1984 and 1996, prizes independence as few other recent generations has. But they will still go to work and, for the most part, work for someone else. Data about their habits, preferences and attitudes toward work and money continues to emerge.
A study by the wellness plan provider KEAS sheds more light on what motivates this generation at work. KEAS surveyed employees who work for companies that offer some type of wellness plan, and who participate in those plans. The respondents were asked a range of questions about their health, wealth, goals and workplace values. (Nearly eight of 10 survey respondents were female, suggesting that perhaps more young women than men tend to participate in workplace wellness plans.)
In general, millennials are much more excited about the "quantified self" movement than are older generations. They do value good health and will give up some things important to them to achieve it. But when it comes to engaging in a workplace plan designed to give them more control over their own health, they will be motivated to do so by the following:
- They tend to want cash incentives tied to participation and achievement of health goals.
- They are also responsive to rewards that lower their cost-sharing of company-sponsored insurance.
- They want the programs to help them lose weight and attain better overall health.
- Programs that offer self-monitoring technology as part of a wellness program appeal to them, much more so than to older generational employees.
- They are likely to be early adopters of such technology; 54 percent said they would "likely buy" a body-analyzing devide to measure their own weight, body fat, check blood pressure, etc.
One example: When asked about components of wellness plans that appeal to them, and later about incentives in benefits packages that appeal to them, the largest blocks rejected onsite fitness facilities as a motivator, but chose company subsidized membership in an off-site fitness center as something of value. Essentially, their message is: Support our fitness goals, but don't tell us where to work out.
"As technology trendsetters and early adopters in their own right, this generation has the potential to serve as ambassadors for creating a culture of health in the workplace if employers engage with them in a way that resonates," KEAS said in a release.
"While millennials may likely be the most savvy when it comes to monitoring their health and tracking their progress towards health goals, employers will find that this group needs monetary motivation to transition this enthusiasm to the workplace. Of this group, 55 percent said it would take a cash incentive to convince them to participate in corporate health programs at work, and 38 percent (more than any other generation) want their employers to provide them with cash-based incentives to improve their health."
Also read: Three reasons wellness programs fail