5 Perks and Benefits To Offer Your Gen Z Employees
Attract Gen Z talent by offering these perks and benefits.
Generation Z college students are graduating into one of the best job markets in years, which means companies across all industries are amping up their traditional compensation and benefits packages to attract talented candidates. Many firms and employers are offering unique perks and benefits designed to cater to Gen Z that go beyond traditional health benefits and compensation. However, not all benefits are created equal and there are some that are especially suited to the Gen Z crowd. So which perks and benefits should you invest in to attract Gen Z talent?
Using existing studies on Gen Z workplace preferences, we’ve identified the perks and benefits that Gen Z employees will find most valuable when signing an offer letter. From company-sponsored education opportunities to student debt repayment, here are five unique and valuable perks that are worth implementing into your perks and benefits packages to help you stand out amongst the competition and attract Gen Z candidates.
1. Formal professional development opportunities
Study after study shows that opportunities for professional development are some of the most valuable things a company can offer Gen Z employees. And from mentorship programs to paid training programs, there are several ways to incorporate professional development opportunities into your perks and benefits package.
Examples of professional development opportunities you can formally offer:
- Implement paid training programs
- Organize “lunch and learns” with different executives, teams, and divisions within the company
- Establish a formal mentorship program with senior-level employees and entry-level employees
- Offer tuition reimbursement programs or certifications to encourage employees to keep learning
With professional development ranking as one of Gen Z’s top priorities in the workplace, it’s worth the investment to establish formal programs for professional development and to advertise these programs as a perk of joining your company. For more ideas for formal training and development opportunities, check out this guide from the SHRM, as well as this study from LinkedIn on exactly what Gen Z wants (and expects) when it comes to learning and development.
2. Perks that aren’t just ‘cool’, but foster a great company culture
Ping-pong tables and beer-on-tap may have worn out their welcome as ‘fun’ workplace perks, but that doesn’t mean companies shouldn’t abandon these kinds of perks altogether. While members of Gen Z don’t have strong feelings toward ping-pong games in particular, company culture is especially important to this generation and can influence their decisions regarding their offers and their workplace satisfaction.
In fact, one study by office design company Peldon Rose found that 65% of Gen Z employees look for a ‘fun’ working environment when assessing fit for a company. That same study found that Gen Z’ers appreciate a thoughtfully designed office space, complete with both quiet and social areas. Data from RippleMatch shows that a strong sense of community is important for Gen Z employees, and that companies should do their part to foster an inclusive, close-knit culture.
Some perks and benefits that help foster an inclusive, welcoming, and stress-free company culture include happy hours, team outings, meditation, yoga classes, and other group activities, whether it’s through playing sports, volunteering, or any other type of team bonding. By selecting your company perks with culture in mind, you can be sure that your perks aren’t just cool – they’re also valuable and attractive to Gen Z candidates.
3. Financial resources and education
Studies show that good health insurance and 401k plans are on Gen Z’s list of top benefits – but, to further stand out, consider going above and beyond to offer robust health care plans and other forms of financial assistance.
One way to attract prospective Gen Z candidates is to offer student loan debt repayment and/or tuition reimbursement. According to CNBC, 44 million Americans are in student loan debt (collectively, they owe about $1.5 trillion), and one in four Americans are currently paying off student loans. However, only 4% of organizations offer student loan repayment as a benefit, according to the Society for Human Resource Management's 2018 Employee Benefits survey report, despite 80% of workers with student loans saying in one survey they would like to work for a company that offers student-debt repayment.
If your company cannot actually provide funds to help employees pay off student debt, there are other ways to assist. For example, you can have a financial planner come into the office and lead workshops on how to consolidate or pay off debt, or provide overall financial best practices for young people just starting out their careers.
Another way to attract Gen Z candidates is to offer health insurance plans that cover therapy and other mental health and/or wellness activities. According to Time, 90% of Gen Z is stressed out, while the American Psychological Association says that Gen Z is more likely to report poor mental health as opposed to their older counterparts. The same APA study reported that 36% of female Gen Z’ers and 38% of male Gen Z’ers have or currently receive(d) treatment or therapy from a psychologist or mental health professional. And the study conducted by Peldon Rose found that 76% of Gen Z survey respondents said that it’s important for employers to value their employees’ mental health and wellbeing. Ensuring that your health insurance covers mental health-related expenses can help you stand out to a generation that’s concerned about and invested in their mental health.
4. Flexible work policies
Whether it’s through flexible work-from-home policies or unlimited vacation days, Gen Z understands the importance of a healthy work-life balance and wants their employers to, too.
According to Glassdoor, flexibility has replaced healthcare as the number one sought-after benefit. Additionally, World Services Group found that 28% of Gen Zers rank work-life balance as their top career priority. What’s more, a 2018 survey conducted by Deloitte found that Gen Zers ranked flexibility among the top three factors when it came to finding the right job.
“Despite the introduction and proliferation of new technologies at work, Millennials and Gen Z value the in-person communication that comes with a traditional corporate office much like older generations do. At the same time, they also seek flexible hours and telecommuting that two-thirds of companies still fail to offer. Companies that want to successfully recruit, retain and grow their young talent must look to corporate culture as their competitive advantage moving forward,” Dan Schawbel, Research Director at Future Workplace and New York Times bestselling author, tells Randstad.
Consider how you can establish flexible work policies in your office and advertise those policies as a perk to prospective employees – Gen Z candidates will appreciate an employer that understands the importance of flexibility and work-life balance.
5. Paid volunteering opportunities
A 2017 survey found that Gen Z is likely to favor employers that have a range of initiatives in place, whether it be fundraising partnerships, sustainability, fair trade, or anything in between. That’s not all, though: A 2016 survey of young workers conducted by Cone Communications found that approximately 75% of all respondents take into account a company’s social and environmental practice when considering a job offer. (And, the same percentage said they would accept a lower salary to work for a company that has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility.) Two-thirds of respondents said they would not accept a job offer from a company that doesn’t have a strong commitment to community engagement. What’s more, in another Cones Communications study (2017), 94 % of Gen Z believe that companies should help address social and environmental issues.
Because of Gen Z’s interest in social good, your company’s commitment to social impact can actually double as a valuable perk for employees. Your company can organize paid volunteering days, establish company-wide fundraising events, and provide opportunities for employees to donate and give back to the local community. Establishing a corporate social responsibility program that’s more than high-level donations can involve employees in your efforts directly and help them feel more fulfilled at your company.
All in all, these five valuable perks will help establish your company as a viable option for Gen Z candidates, and the proof is in the data. By taking steps to provide Gen Z’ers with what they want in a job, you can stand out from the competition and attract and retain talented employees in the long run.
Want more info on how to recruit and retain Gen Z talent? Download our report on 'What Generation Z Wants at Work' here.