September 28, 2015
Salary is a priority for Millennials; so are flexibility and perks, finds Staples study

Contrary to popular belief, Millennials are as motivated by salary as their older coworkers, according to the Staples Advantage Workplace Index,* a recent study of office workers in the United States and Canada, conducted by the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc. Almost one third of Millennials (29%) report that higher salary is the biggest contributor to their loyalty, despite only 20% of the broader workforce reporting the same feelings.

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“Millennials are becoming the largest demographic in the U.S. Workforce—about one third of all workers—so it’s critical for employers to understand how to attract and retain Millennial talent,” said John Burke, senior vice president and chief culture officer, Staples, Inc. “Our Workplace Index found that contrary to popular belief, salary is important to Millennials, just as it is to older workers.” The survey also revealed that flexibility and office perks are key to retaining to Millennials.

5 unconventional factors that attract, retain Millennial talent

As a whole, U.S. office workers consider title and work responsibilities (38%) and work/life balance (30%) as leading contributors to their loyalty. However, Millennials favor more nontraditional benefits in the workplace, as reflected in these five insights from the study that show what Millennials want:

  1. Flexibility in where and when they work. Over half of Millennials report they work from home after the standard workday is over, compared to only 39% of all U.S. office workers. Given this, it is not surprising that Millennials say more flexibility will improve their happiness (49%) and their productivity (59%).
  2. Office perks that promote positive culture. Office perks, such as an on-site gyms and free lunches, are deemed valuable by Millennials. One in five (21%) define a good work culture as a place that offers incentives and perks, and nearly half (46%) say more office perks would improve their happiness.
  3. Improved breakrooms and encouraged break time. Over a third of Millennials (34%) say they feel like they can’t take a break due to feelings of guilt, compared to only 22% of all U.S. office workers. However, over half of Millennials (62%) say having break time to refresh themselves would increase their productivity. Millennials also say a well-stocked breakroom leads to happier employees (57%), less stress (35%), more productive employees (35%), and a more social environment (33%).
  4. Concern for the environment. “Eco-friendliness” appeals to altruistic Millennials. Eco-friendly practices in the workplace can provide benefits not only for the environment, but for recruiting Millennials as well. When making an employment decision, half of all Millennials indicated an eco-friendly company is important, compared to only 35% of the broader workforce.
  5. Trust in leadership and a relationship with their direct boss. Millennials that are not expecting to change jobs note that trust in leadership and trust in their direct boss contributes to their loyalty. In addition, one in five Millennials report that their direct boss motivates them to do their best work, and over a third (35%) believe that strong leadership defines a good work culture. Feedback from their boss is also important to this generation; nearly one third of Millennials (28%) say feeling appreciated contributes to their loyalty, and 26% say recognition motivates them to do their best at work.

The majority of Millennials (70%) expect to be in a management position in the next 5 years, compared to 48% of the broader workforce. With more Millennials expected to rise to management positions in the coming years, Staples Advantage expects these nontraditional benefits to continue to become more prominent in U.S. Workplaces.

Key considerations that drive Millennial productivity

Technology. Millennials seem to be less concerned with technology issues than the broader employee base. While 72% of all U.S. office workers say poorly performing technology decreases their productivity, only 56% of Millennials reported the same. In addition, 49% of Millennials say limited IT support will decrease their productivity, compared to 62% of all U.S. office workers.

Social media. Millennials are also social media natives, and as such, it does not seem to negatively impact their productivity. In fact, they say the use of social networking sites/tools (28%) and apps that track to-do lists (42%) actually increase their productivity.

“Digital age” mindset. When asked how employers can help their employees combat overwork and burnout, the majority of the broader employee base (54%) said employers should decrease their workload or provide more time to complete tasks, compared to only 42% of Millennials. This difference could be attributed to Millennials having grown up in the “digital age” where the always-on mentality has dominated, so their threshold for information overload is a bit higher.

To download the full report, visit the Staples Advantage Workplace Index microsite.

* The survey, conducted by Redshift Research, was conducted among 2,602 employees 18 or older across a variety of companies, both in size, geography, and industry. A total of 1,528 employees were interviewed in the U.S. (1,026 were classified as general workers and 502 as business decision makers). A total of 1,074 employees were interviewed in Canada (744 general office workers and 330 decision makers).

The infographic below provides more insight into the Staples Advantage Workplace Index.

Results from Staples Advantage Workplace Index

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