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The high performer who got away. I recently had lunch with a friend of mine who I have known for more years than either one of us would admit. He had just started a new job and wanted to fill me in on how much his new organization supported him both personally and professionally. Prior to the job change, he had been employed by the same company since graduation. He often joked about his plans to retire from that prior organization; however, as he entered a new phase of life, fatherhood, he began to ask questions about balance and yes, paid parental leave. He ended up leaving a company he had been with for over a decade, one that had groomed and invested in him, to go to an organization that could better support him in his new family-focused phase of life. Ultimately, if that original employer could not support him at the beginning of his new son’s life, how could it support him for the next eighteen years?
From an HR point of view (i.e. cost of turnover, cost of investment, and organizational perception), I felt the pang of loss for his prior employer. Not all companies are ready culturally or financially for paid parental leave, but I found myself wondering if this employer had ever performed a cost analysis for paid parental leave. Not all paid parental leave policies are twenty-four, eighteen, or twelve weeks long. Furthermore, did the organization perform an analysis regarding paid parental leave versus turnover costs? I was excited for him but also felt empathy for the previous employer who lost an employee they had invested in for so long.
What does the next generation of leaders want and why do employers need to pay such close attention to their needs? And why is paid parental leave such an important benefit to this upcoming generation?
Happy retirement boomers!
As baby boomers continue to say farewell to the workforce over the next ten years, there won’t be enough gen x workers to fill the gap. Waiting in the wings to fill the gap — a new crop of millennials and gen z employees. Of these two generations, millennials (born between 1980 and 1992) are a much larger group than gen z. According to Brookings Data Now, millennials will make up 75% of the American workforce within the next ten years. That’s why many employers are starting the up the ante on benefits — taking a closer look at what’s most appealing to the millennial generation.
What millennials want.
Millennials have different needs than earlier generations in the workforce. This group places a high value on workplace flexibility and family-friendly benefits, including paid parental leave. According to the 2018 SHRM Employee Benefits Report, 83% of millennial new parents are willing to make a job change based on improved family benefits. Many millennials are part of a two-career couple which expects both partners will work and parent. In many situations a policy that allows for just one primary caregiver to take paid leave may no longer be enough. As millennials continue to be in the largest group of parents in prime years of childbearing, they will continue to look for benefits that support the need for balance, wellbeing and taking care of loved ones.
Your competition is preparing.
Even though Indiana still lags behind national statistics with 29.8% of employers (see infographic), more organizations are offering paid parental leave to their employees each year. With more of the workforce requesting family-friendly benefits each year, paid leave has become a powerful tool to help employers recruit and retain top talent. Work-life integration is a must to stay competitive. It’s a way to show not just millennials, but all generations, that your organization values its employees.
With one large generation getting ready to exit the workforce while a new, much larger generation is preparing to enter, now is the time to do your homework and get prepared. Are you ready?