The American workplace is changing.
With millennials now representing the largest portion of the U.S. workforce, you may have noticed that these digital savvy, purpose-driven workers are transforming your organization’s culture.
No, I’m not just talking about ping pong tables, free snacks and open office spaces. Common millennial values, such as collaboration and flexibility, are spreading to all areas of business — including benefits.
For organizations vying for the best young talent, traditional benefits packages that have pleased workers in the past might no longer cut it. To attract creatives, you’ll have to get creative.
Here are three, trending employee benefits that you might not have heard of.
Student loan assistance
It’s no secret that millennials have more student loan debt than previous generations. While most baby boomers graduated with little to no student debt, the average millennial graduates with about $34,000.
Many millennials don't want to think about saving for retirement until they have paid off their student debt. So, some organizations are implementing student loan assistance as an alternative to a 401(k) retirement fund match.
A 2015 study by PwC and George Washington University showed that most millennials put off saving for retirement because of their student loan debt. That same study said that 79 percent of millennials say student debt is keeping them from meeting other financial goals.
This statistic led PwC to become one of the first organizations to offer student loan assistance. Organizations such as SoFi, Aetna, Chegg and others also offer this perk.
Elaine Florentino, PwC employee, told the Society for Human Resource Management that student loan assistance made her feel cared for by her employer — which she said is important.
Partially due to their crippling student debt, young people are also delaying marriage and children. Instead, many millennials are opting to care for cheaper (and furrier) babies.
You’ve heard of maternity and paternity leave, but have you heard of “pawternity?” That’s right, now some organizations are offering paid time off for new pet owners.
“A pet is another member of the family,” the head of talent acquisition at mParticle, a firm with pawternity benefits, told the Wall Street Journal. “We don’t discriminate just because they aren’t human.”
Offering this benefit is not only nice for your furry friends, it will ensure that your employees feel valued as well. Autonomy, flexibility and paid time off can lead to increased productivity and employee happiness.
Along with the increased student loans and the delay in parenting, millennials are also less likely to be homeowners than previous generations.
In response, some companies have been offering rent subsidies as a perk.
Addepar, an investment management platform, has offices in Mountain View, Calif., and New York City, where rent can get pretty expensive. The firm offers rent subsidies to encourage employees to live closer to their offices, granting them anywhere from $150 to $300 per month in housing assistance.
Not only do most workers prefer living close to the office, proximity benefits the organization as a whole, too. When a workforce lives, works and plays within the same area, that density can improve company culture.
Facebook is among the firms to also buy into this benefit. In efforts to bring more employees closer to the social media company’s Silicon Valley office, Facebook is offering at least $10,000 in rental subsidies for its employees.
This benefit can alleviate some of the housing issues in the increasingly expensive, congested San Francisco Bay area. But, this benefit isn’t just applicable to coastal cities — housing prices and rental rates are dramatically increasing all across the U.S.
In addition to helping workers get by, rental subsidies is just another perk that demonstrates how your business cares.