As Millennials are now the largest age group in the workforce, there is no better time than now to cross-check employee incentive programs in order to attract, maintain, and secure the tenure of these employees. For Millennials, employee appreciation is key, and can be easy to implement in ways outside a traditional promotion, which can come at the expense of time and money for the company. Employees that feel appreciated become more invested, loyal, and productive. Learn how to motivate and engage employees with some of the top incentives Millennials are expecting in their careers that all organizations can implement.


  1. Wellness Benefits and Programs – Establishing a company wellness program may sound like a hefty investment of resources but can actually be quite simple to execute with an extremely positive impact on employees’ mental and physical health. Increased employee health can help the company save in health care premiums, absenteeism, and boost employee retention. Low-cost ideas include on-site massage chairs, free healthy snacks, flexible work schedules, corporate health discounts for local gyms, and designated areas in the office where employees are encouraged to de-stress and take a break from their work for a few minutes.


  1. Travel and Experience Rewards – It’s not a new revelation that Millennials value experiences over things. Seventy-eight percent of Millennials would choose to spend money on an experience or event over buying something desirable (Harris Corp. study). This is good news for companies as they look to incentivize employees. Although promotions are valued by Millennials, a more cost-efficient approach is offering a vacation, concert tickets, weekend getaway, or similar experiences to motivate and engage employees to achieve a certain goal. According to Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, “use of incentive travel as a key business strategy is growing at a brisk rate” and organizations are leveraging travel to drive employee retention, plus health and wellness.


  1. Company Celebrations and Events – Company success cannot happen without the tireless efforts of its employees. It is important to connect employees to the organization’s performance and recognize the value each employee contributes, both in and out of the workplace. Simple celebrations of employees’ birthdays and personal achievement, such as a wedding or new baby, are simple ways to recognize employees on an individual level. Project achievements highlight a team’s effort and lets employees know their dedication has meaning, helping to keep them engaged and excited about their work. Annual year-end or holiday parties are a fun way to allow employees to reflect on the organization’s accomplishments and spend time with one another in a stress-free environment. All of these celebrations help connect employees with each other, as well as increase motivation and engagement.


  1. Volunteer and Community-Based Projects – Millennial employees want to support their communities and causes they care about. Organizations that value giving back and encourage employees to take time to make a difference are increasingly more attractive to this workforce than those that do not. Companies can offer annual or quarterly service days to support a local food bank or humane society. Businesses can also partner with local schools to set up reading clubs between students and employees, or even offer paid time off for mission or service trips to impact people and causes around the nation and world. Organizations that show their commitment to purpose, in addition to business accomplishments and bottom lines, will gain greater loyalty and respect from employees.


  1. Team Building Activities – Team building activities are a simple way to nurture employee engagement, encourage teamwork, and should be integrated into a company’s engagement strategy. These activities foster relationships between employees, allow staff from different teams, departments, and management levels to bond on a personal level, and most activities can cost the company little to no money. Working lunches, basketball or flag football tournaments, wine tastings, or a ropes course are all great ways to give employees an opportunity to spend time together and can foster creativity, optimism, communication and productivity.


In the current economy, businesses overlooking the need to engage employees are jeopardizing retention of top talent. This is especially true with Millennials who, unlike their parents, will not settle in a career that does not provide them with the programs, benefits, and incentives they crave. It is important for companies to build robust employee engagement strategies, with or without large budgets, in order to create a culture of happy, healthy, committed, and energized employees.

Written by Krista Kuhlman, Experiential Marketing Manager at Giveback Sports, LLC.