The Cost of (Not) Having Corporate Concierge: Latest trends in concierge benefits improve Millennial retention and job satisfaction

They are touchscreen-tapping, instant messaging multi-taskers who’ve grown up in a world of friending, trending, googling and facebooking.

They are Generation Y, or “Millennials,” and it is estimated that by 2025, they will make up roughly 75% of the world’s workforce. While managers are often impressed by Millennials’ innovative ideas, time-saving process improvements and collaborative spirit, employers often struggle with this generation’s sense of entitlement, need for instant gratification and lack of long-term job commitment.

In fact, about two-thirds of Millennials said they would likely "surf" from one job to the next, and according to a recent study published by Michigan State University and Monstertrak, 44% of 18- to 28-year-olds said they would blow off a job acceptance commitment if a better one presented itself.

“We want to wear clothes that are comfortable. We want to be able to spice up the dull workday by listening to our iPods,” says one Millennial blogger on the website Xanga.com. “If corporate America doesn't like that, too bad.”

This sentiment seems to be representative of the majority of Millennials, and has led to a new wave of work/life blending over balance. Seeing that today’s employee has an average of at least 15 co-workers friended on Facebook, the line between work and personal life is definitely blurred. They may be Skyping with mom midday and answering work e-mails at midnight.

Millennials are also less likely to be defined by one job or one career than their Gen X and Boomer counterparts. They often simultaneously pursue a variety of entrepreneurial, part-time and side projects in search of that perfect-fit career. Employers may be surprised to find their part-time administrative assistant is also a sought-after fashion blogger who teaches art to autistic teens on weekends.

Raised by parents who said, “Follow your heart” and “Pursue your passion,” Millennials want flexible, tolerant, and supportive work environments that value their contributions while allowing them to pursue a variety a personal and career goals. Having watched their parents lose their “secure” eight-to-five jobs, 401Ks, retirement funds and even their homes, Millennials are not afraid to make their personal lives their top priority.

A 2010 study conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that on a scale of importance, 52% of Millennials ranked “being a good parent” highest, followed by 30% who said “having a successful marriage,” and even 21% said “helping others in need.” “Being successful in a high-paying career,” however, came in at a low 7%.

Now, many US companies are left wondering exactly how much Millennials’ priorities and work styles differ from past working generations, and what this means for recruitment, retention and employee benefit strategies. Issues arise if a job begins to interfere too much or demand too much. Millennials often become frustrated, and like an outdated piece of technology, will deem the job “obsolete” and move on to something fresher and more fulfilling.

The high turnover rate among the Millennial employees is costly. On average, it costs $17,000 to replace an employee making the median wage in the United States, according to ACI’s Chief Administrative Officer Gil Manzano. If an employee makes $60,000 per year, then the replacement costs could be as much as $38,000 for that one employee. Multiply that by several employees each year, and you’ve got a seriously impacted bottom line.

For companies trying to maintain a competitive edge they must become Millennial-friendly. The corner office, prestigious title and promises of a 5% annual raise are no longer incentives that speak to the growing Millennial workforce. Investing in employees’ well-being and personal fulfillment is more important than ever.

Unsurprisingly, one of the companies that caters best to Millennials’ work style is Google. With on-site hair salons, swimming pools, a coin-free Laundromat and even language classes included in the corporate benefits package, Google is well known for its creative recruitment and retention strategies for top talent. Of course, not all companies can afford Google’s unique benefits package—yet companies of all sizes can get creative with a more practical benefits solution: corporate concierge programs.

Acting as a virtual personal assistant, a corporate concierge program combines Millennials’ three favorite things: it allows them to multi-task, produces instant results, and most importantly, improves the quality of their personal lives. A corporate concierge program takes care of employees’ numerous life to-dos, making it much easier to catch the late afternoon surf, plan a cocktail party for friends, or just kick back on the couch to enjoy a relaxing family movie night.

Saving time, reducing stress, and improving retention turn into major cost savings and productivity gains for employers, especially considering employees spend up to 2.5 hours of the work day on unavoidable personal tasks. Companies can rest assured that a concierge program will keep multi-generational employees happy and productive, but most importantly, that it will keep them at all.


- Ann D. Clark

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