I Love OfficeLooking to attract Millennials to your organization? If you want them to come flocking, you may want to think outside the box when it comes to compensation and workplace perks. (Click here to tweet this thought.)

The younger generation is less likely to be wowed by traditional HR benefits than past generations and more interested in how the culture of a business speaks to them. The good news for HR departments and business owners: Some of the things that tend to score big points with Millennials won’t necessarily cost you big bucks.

Attracting Millennials

Recently, the North Dakota Young Professionals network (a network I’m a part of) completed their annual Best Place to Work and Best Place to Intern awards, and this year the judges saw a lot more creativity popping up from businesses trying to attract young professionals (ages 21-41) to their teams.

First, let’s take a look at some unique factors playing into just why North Dakota businesses are crafting their hiring efforts for the younger generations:

Surprising to most, North Dakota is actually growing younger at a higher rate of change than any other state. According to the 2010 to the 2012 census, North Dakota showed a decrease in median age of 1.2 years. That may not sound like much, but the number two state only had a decrease in median age of 0.6 years. North Dakota also tied for 10th place as the Youngest State according to the 2012 census (the last year statistical data is available), with a media age of 36.2. Utah came in first at 29.9, and Maine came in the oldest state in the nation at 43.5 years.

Perhaps even more interesting is that the median age of North Dakotans is continuing to grow younger as the median age of the country grows older. Couple all of this with recent recognition as the #1 Happiest Place to Live in Gallup’s annual well-being poll, #1 Best State for Young Job Hunters, #1 State for Strongest Personal Income Growth and #1 Best State be Young in America and you have a pretty amazing place for Millennials to consider building their careers. Oh, and I should probably mention that North Dakota also continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, at just 2.6%, according to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So to sum it all up, a young population and a low unemployment rate means that North Dakota businesses are having to get creative in their recruitment efforts in order to attract top talent in a competitive environment.

Now it’s time to learn from their creative efforts. Let’s take a look at exactly how they’re accomplishing that with what the judges saw as some of the most unique employment perks being offered efforts in targeting Millennials.

1. Pampering Perks

From small and thoughtful to pretty luxurious, this group of perks highlights some of the ways businesses are enticing employees through indulgence:

  • Bi-weekly chair massages
  • Free snack cupboards
  • Kegerator
  • Weekly ice cream runs
  • Free fruits and vegetables
  • Napping rooms
  • Free breakfast every day
  • All-expense-paid holiday party weekend getaways
  • Sporting event tickets
  • Monthly drawing for VIP parking space
  • Use of Cadillac for a year (awarded to winner of employee recognition award)
  • Paid fitness memberships
  • State-of-the-art technology
  • Office decor stipend
  • Continuing education or training stipend


2. Community Perks

Many young professionals grew up volunteering and participating in group activities, and they don’t want to give those things up now that they’ve entered the workforce. Employers that find a way to support community involvement score big points with Millennials. Examples include:

  • Sponsorships of employee sports teams
  • Book clubs
  • Knitting (and other hobby) clubs
  • Paid membership fees to service and activity clubs
  • Philanthropic giving programs, including employer contribution match
  • Organized volunteer efforts for the whole office
  • Paid time off for volunteering or board service
  • Halloween costume contests and random office fun
  • Regular potlucks and monthly parties just to get to know each other better
  • Department retreats, sans work (bowling, brewery tours, etc.)


3. Lifestyle Perks

Millennials tend to love the “work hard, play hard” mentality, and they see no reason to be in the office 9-to-5, five days a week. Employers that understand this and work to accommodate the desired lifestyle of a young professional seeking work/life balance will definitely get a thumbs up from Millennials.

  • Flexible scheduling
  • Telecommuting
  • Respecting employee’s life outside of work (including no texting, emailing or calling outside of work hours)
  • Infant-at-work policies
  • Casual dress code
  • Wellness program rewards (i.e. $500 a year for maintaining healthy lifestyle)
  • Reduced hours in the summer
  • Flexibility to use paid holiday days off on the day of their choice
  • Paid day off on your birthday


4. Convenience Perks and Special Deals

Because, let’s face it, anything that makes life a little easier is a big deal. Kudos to employers who are looking for ways to take some day-to-day stress off their employees.

  • Postage available for purchase
  • Ability to purchase computer equipment and technology at discounted rates through employer accounts
  • Discounts on travel
  • Specially organized discounts at local businesses
  • Errand services (dry cleaning pickup, taking your vehicle for oil changes, etc.)
  • On-site fitness facilities
  • Use of company equipment for freelancing
  • Personal use of tablets and phones
  • Cellphone stipend
  • Employee library of CDs, DVDs and books to swap and share


5. Culture Perks

Culture, culture, culture. The number one reason young professionals gave for nominating their business as a Best Place to Work (or Intern) was culture. The best part about this? Most culture perks won’t cost your business a dime, because all your employees really want is a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

Young professionals thrive under hands-on experience that gives them a seat at the table and a voice. They want to be trusted, respected and appreciated for what they have to offer.

  • Freedom to be creative, take initiative and make things happen
  • Direct access to company executives regardless of title
  • Lunch with CEO on your birthday
  • Employee feedback surveys (that actually implement suggestions)
  • Transparency and open communication
  • Freedom to share opinion and respect for differing opinions
  • Mentorship to grow and improve with a “never stop learning” mentality
  • Encouragement and feedback
  • Family atmosphere that feels more like home than work
  • Ability to be part of decision-making processes
  • Dedication to educating employees
  • Support of entrepreneurial efforts and outside projects
  • Challenging and rewarding work
  • Fun work environment

How does your company compare to some of these offerings? We’d would love to hear what your favorite perk is — or would be! Share in the comments!

Image: Flickr