Investing in the Individual: Why It Matters and How to Make It Work
After 50+ interviews with CEO’s, top executives, and leaders throughout the country it should come as no surprise to anyone that not a single one debated the fact that millennials differ greatly from the generations before them. In fact, the current generation flooding the workforce not only views their role in a company through a different lens, but also gravitates towards companies that offer more than just a stable income and set of typical benefits. Bill Harris, Strategic Director, Randstad Life Sciences, views the change in millennial needs and values as a direct result of watching their own parents and grandparents dedicate themselves to the same company decade after decade—only to eventually lose their pensions. “Now millennials want more than financial promises—they want to do something they believe in.”
“If you want to breed longevity and loyalty from employees then you need to invest in the individual,” Harris insists. To his point, companies have been actively working to create new programs, offers and benefits for their employees that far exceed the typical health care and 401k options the older generations saw. “Fundamentally I do feel that people care about others, but companies need to work to show their true commitments to their employees—and that starts by enabling them to work on themselves.”
Investing in the overall well-being of employees is an investment that is beneficial to all parties involved. From fewer sick days and workplace accidents to a clearer focus and mindset, encouraging others to be the best versions of themselves has no downside. Harris points out that there are more than a few ways to get employees engaged in their own health: from company contests to discounted fitness memberships, it doesn’t have to mean including a state-of-the-art gym in every office building.
Harris points out, “Not every company can afford to do tuition reimbursement programs, but that’s not the only way to invest in your employees’ education. There are other options such as individual certifications, advanced trainings, assessments and mentorship programs. Ultimately, to invest in an individual you need to ask: ‘Where are you now, where do you want to go, and how do we as a company help you to get there?’”
One of the most successful routes for a company looking to go above and beyond normal benefits is the investment in employee passions. For some, this means helping team members to participate or donate to their favorite causes and organizations, while for others it’s about taking the time to dive deeper into their personal interests. No matter how it looks within each company, the mission is the same: show employees that what matters to them, matters to all of us.
Harris says that Randstad US works to make all of this possible, adding that they have an entire division dedicated to business/industry knowledge. “We want to build the culture by investing in people from the moment they start with us—and that means bringing them in the right way. Throughout the onboarding process, we help them to understand our culture so they can start making a difference right away. Additionally, we are committed to ongoing education and training for our employees because we understand that it’s a necessary element.”
At the end of the day, Harris says, “This is the current balancing act for companies: they need to produce and make money but they simply won’t get there without engaging in the individuals. It will look different for every company but it’s important to figure out what matters to their team members and work to make it happen—and hopefully, their culture reflects that.”
Kevin Bugielski is the Marketing Manager for Victory Lap, a purpose-driven startup changing the sales game. Avid Snapchatter, SoulCycle lover, newfound runner, but ultimately, a foodie.