the population, it’s going to be in trouble,” Balkin said. Some companies may have previously thought they knew more than they did about how to attract Millennials, only to realize they were mistaken. “I think two or three years ago, company leaders were telling anyone who wanted to listen what they thought Mil- lennials wanted,” he said. “And then a couple of years later they realized that they really got that wrong. And now they are asking, ‘Well, what do Millennials want?’” Balkin explained that it’s easy to overthink things or put too much emphasis on providing small perks rather than looking at the overall picture. “I think back to some really good advice that a mentor of mine gave me about 10 years ago,” Balkin said. “He said that money is not why people leave. It is manage- ment. That always stuck with me. And the more I have seen in my professional career, either directly or indirectly with others, it holds true. Ultimately, if your people are disengaged, then it doesn’t matter whether you have cas- ual Fridays.” Ricki Weisberg Ndege is director of communications and corporate marketing at Affiliated Distributors (AD). She recalls joining the company and quickly being im- pressed by how her ideas were listened to and sought. “When I started at AD, one of my favorite aspects of joining the team was everyone’s openness to innovation,” she said. “When you’re young and join an established company, people could easily shun new ways of doing things. But at AD the entrepreneurial spirit is strong. In- novation is exciting, and for young employees to know that their employer is open to their ideas and will try them out is very engaging.” A potential concern in many industries is that some new employees are starting their jobs while having student loans to pay. Student loan debt and its impact permeate virtually all industries in one way or another. A possible perk companies might want to explore, Bal- kin suggested, is helping Millennial employees with that student debt. “One thing I would look at from a ‘perks’ standpoint…is some form of student debt assistance,” he said. “I believe a firm would get much more loyalty and productivity from folks in its organization if it could offer some sort of help.” Granted, such debt assistance may not be doable for all businesses, but it would take things further along in terms of cultivating loyalty—especially among the younger hires— than the more common job perks. “A bonus that would be tied to paying off some of that debt would get a far better reception from employees than a ‘Bring your dog to work day,’” Balkin said. ;
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