Millennials. You may have noticed them around the office. You might think of them as the lazy, flighty, entitled generation born between the early 80's and 00's that say "totes" when they agree with you. Like any group of misplaced stereotypes, not all is as it appears when it comes to the younger contingent and, since they are taking over as the largest sector of the workforce, you may want to take a second look at them as adults, assets, and major contributors to your company's retirement plan.
Yes, they're here in numbers, and more than 70% of them are saving for their retirement. Contrary to some common stereotypes, millennials understand personal responsibility and are engaged in making smart decisions for their investing future. The chances are that you employ some millennials already and, as the numbers indicate, are going to be employing a lot more of them in the future.
Retirement investing is an important lure for a generation that witnessed the financial collapse of 2008. Not unlike those following the Great Depression, millennials may have grown up hearing horror stories from their parents who lost a great deal. They have also been told not to rely on social security. So, in order to attract millennials to your workforce, you may want to consider their expectations when it comes to retirement. Let's cover a few key points.
TECHNOLOGY: As is often the case in this digital age, you should assess your technology. In a world equipped with computers, smartphones, and tablets, a digital platform provides flexibility and convenient access to plan information immediately and continuously. These digital babies want an on-demand way to monitor and manage their investments. Technology isn't going backwards, so a hard look at how you deliver communications and education to your benefits and retirement programs is time well spent.
INVESTMENT EDUCATION: Investment advice, plain and simple. While participant education and access to an informed fiduciary should be a staple in any retirement plan, it's essential for the newbies. Statistically, millennials tend to be a bit tentative with their investment decisions. Offering and ensuring an effective avenue to personalized financial advice is a responsible move as a plan sponsor and attractive to employees, young or old, looking for a place to land and do their best work.
VESTING: Offer the opportunity for the plan's participants to be immediately vested. That is a nice perk for a group that is likely starting their career under a pile of student loan debt; furthermore, such an upfront investment will give your new-hire a sense of belonging. Upfront matching is attractive bait when fishing for any intelligent employee and goes a long way in proving you will invest in their future, if they will invest in the company's.
The truth about this new generation is that they have similar career aspirations, needs, and attitudes as Gen X'ers and Baby Boomers. They are just better at asking for what they want and native to a technological world that simply did not exist 30 years ago. The savvy plan sponsor adapts their plan capabilities to be advantageous to their business, just as they would adapt the business itself in a changing market tide. Well, the tides here are changing. It's time to cast a wider net and catch some new fish!