Considering the Millennial generation's detachment from politics, religion, and marriage compared to previous generations, it should come as no surprise that they also self-report a lack of engagement at work.

Companies looking to hire from the pool of 75 million young workers face increased pessimism about business's role in society as well as the one-two punch of low engagement and low commitment.  

 

Adapt, Overcome

If there is a solution, it's to adjust to the times. That starts with understanding the root of the change.

Millennials, defined as those born between 1981 and 1996, are higher educated than any previous generation, and yet they enter a world that no longer offers the pensions that incentivized previous generations to stay at the same company for a lifetime. This factor contributes significantly to the "job-hopper" stereotype of younger workers today. Whereas Baby Boomers were rewarded for their life-long loyalty with a guaranteed monthly income in retirement, today's workers, particularly in private industries but increasingly in the government sector as well, are largely responsible for their own retirement. Add an average student loan debt of $50,000 and it's not surprising that young people are willing to jump ship if a new job offers even 25 cents more an hour.

Millennials also report low engagement at work, a costly revelation that's due in part to 60% believing that companies care more about themselves than society as a whole. Engagement, in practical terms, means caring. Overcoming this pessimism will take more than an offer of employment.

 

Lead by Example

To boost engagement, engage. A strong benefits package goes a long way toward building a strong team. And if retirement benefits are explained well, managed well, and regularly communicated to employees, they can become more than just a stack of paperwork filled out at the start of a new job; they can serve as a reflection of the company's commitment to its workers.

Communication is key. With consumer confidence soaring, there's no excuse for mediocre optimism among your staff. The stock market in 2017 experience a 20% gain in 401(k) accounts, the largest in four years and "the second-longest in history." There's money to be made in well-managed 401(k) plans. One problem is that employers aren't communicating this as a perk akin to salary.

A Pew study in 2016 found that "Younger workers are generally confused about many aspects of their plans, and more than a third of those under 30 could not name the type of retirement plan their employer offers."

The survey also found that young workers want to be able to take their retirement with them if they do leave, because 60% of those under age 30 don't anticipate working for the same company into retirement.

"Less than half of workers under 40 said they understood their retirement plans well enough to be able to estimate how much they would get at retirement. Those in their 20s were less likely to be able to estimate their benefit than those 30 to 39 (28 percent vs. 57 percent, respectively)."

In a low-unemployment economy, it's more important than ever to stay competitive. You can't keep Millennials from shopping the market for a different job, but with a genuine investment and competitive benefits, you can show them that different isn't necessary better. You do that with high quality, well-managed plans.

 

Take Action

Life Inc., Retirement Services can serve as both advisor and third-party administrator, offering the perks of high-end, well-managed 401(k) plans, as well as the tax benefits normally reserved for large companies. Contact us today to find out how your retirement plan can attract and retain new talent with a local 401(k) plan.

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