Debi O’Donovan: Benefits are changing to attract young talent

We have been talking about the impact of the millennial generation on the workplace for many years. Now we are reaching a point where there are so many in the workplace that the changes are actually starting to happen.


Debi O'Donovan editor Employee Benefits 2013 (305 x 240)

But for the millennials, or Generation Y if you prefer, they probably feel they have stepped back in time when they come into the workplace.

For example, the technology we use at work often falls behind that used by people at home, while the ability to upgrade, as you would with a mobile phone is restricted by job grade.

And even if you can make your own choices via a flexible benefits package, the chances are you have to wait until the flex window is open – perhaps only a few times a year or even (horror!) once a year.

This daily expectation of flexibility extends beyond the benefits package. Flexible working (both in time and location) is highly appealing – and, it is said, worth more than a higher salary to twenty-somethings.

I believe that time and technology will continue to change the way we work (it will change some of our jobs completely – making some redundant while new ones evolve), and we are simply on the beginning of that journey.

Mobile technology will also change how we recruit talent. At Employee Benefits Live this year we heard how Danish business conglomerate, Maersk uses Facebook to recruit specialist talent in difficult locations. And the rise of the likes of Glassdoor (that rates employers based on what it is like to work there and how good their benefits packages are) cannot be ignored.

As the economy picks up and organisations’ need to attract talent outstrips their pay budgets, the pressure is on HR and benefits teams to be even cleverer in how they up their game on their employee value proposition (including benefits).

The good news is that for many organisations they do have an EVP. The bad news is they have not overtly stated it and championed it to current and potential staff.

With a bit of time and effort, this can be done and communicated via the company intranet, website (does yours say what it is like to work at your organisation? Or list your benefits?), Facebook and LinkedIn. These are all free and powerful tools.

Debi O’Donovan


Employee Benefits 

Twitter: @DebiODonovan