Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest living generation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This group now represents one out of three workers in the U.S. By 2025, three out of every four workers globally will be Millennials. Having benefits that are attractive to Millennials will become increasingly important for recruiting and retaining talent.
We’ve already experienced how Millennials are influencing the workplace. Their expectations for work/life balance and flexibility have made telecommuting and flexible hours almost standard in the corporate world.
As your Millennial workforce swells, your corporate wellness program is a great way to engage them and make prevention a priority. Here’s how to make your wellness program resonate with the 18-to-37-year-old set.
Wellness is a Healthy Lifestyle
Millennials are more aware than previous generations of the link between health and wellness—and they have a broad view of what health is. A recent study found that 86% of Millennials would rather be healthy than wealthy.
While Boomers consider tasty foods as sweet, fatty indulgences, Millennials have a different perspective. Their delicious foods are fresh, minimally processed ones, like bruschetta or a bean and corn quesadilla.
There’s a difference in how they define health, too. Boomers have historically thought of being healthy as not being sick. They have deferred to doctors and trusted medical experts. Millennials, however, see good health not just as a lack of disease, but as being mentally and physically active. They are more likely to treat illness with lifestyle changes, and they research their symptoms online when they have a medical concern.
If they prefer healthy lifestyles, does this mean that it will be easy to get Millennial employees participating with their corporate wellness programs? Yes and no.
It’s good news that Millennials value many healthy lifestyle choices. However, as Millennials transition into different life seasons like marriage or parenthood, they face the same challenges as Boomers. They’re pressed for time and tempted by easy to find fast food.
Before life’s stresses put them on the road to the same diet-related chronic diseases that plague Boomers, a corporate wellness program can offer interventions that make healthy eating an easy option for them and their families.
What Does this Mean for Corporate Wellness Programs?
Millennials’ preference for healthy lifestyles does create a huge opportunity for employers. This generation is wide open to partnering with you and your wellness program to promote healthy eating. Employers will need to step up their game, though, because Millenials will expect more from wellness benefits than previous generations.
Let’s walk through the five key elements that wellness programs need to successfully engage Millennials around nutrition:
1. Make It Mobile—Nearly half of Millennials check their phone 50 times a day and think email is old school. If it isn’t accessible on their phones, it doesn’t exist. Consider wellness coaching via text messaging, fitness and nutrition apps, and fitness trackers.
2. Deliver Healthy Convenience—60% of Millennials have used a meal delivery kit. They like the convenience of having a fresh “meal in a box” delivered right to their doorstep. Support Millennials in their efforts to replace unhealthy takeout with fresh practical, and convenient meals.
3. Move the Marketplace Online—82% of Millennials use their phone to buy products. Online equals convenience for Millennials. They may not buy everything online, but they buy enough. If the price is right and the shipping free, they’re comfortable hitting “confirm.”
4. Create Seamless Experiences—43% of Millennials have ordered takeout or delivery in the last month. Rather than completely disrupting this behavior, make it just as easy for Millennials to find and order healthy food as it is to order the junk.
5. Support Self-Empowerment—Millennials are looking for new remedies that meet their broader definition of health and wellness. They want a menu of solutions from a trusted partner instead of definitive answers from venerated experts. And, these solutions need to be tailored to their preferences.
Healthy and happy employees make for a more productive workforce, which in turn has a positive impact on your business. Millennials will be the majority of the workforce by 2025. This gives employers a great opportunity to help them stay healthy and avoid chronic disease by supporting their desire to eat healthy with wellness programs that have a strong nutrition component.
Connect Millennials to a wellness program that speaks to their needs, represents their values and engages them with tools and platforms they are comfortable using. Millennials have a holistic view on health, and having Millennial-friendly benefits will be important for recruiting and retaining this generation over the next decade.
Zipongo is a digital nutrition platform that makes it simple to promote healthy eating habits.
To discover more about how consumers view healthcare, download our research paper: What’s on the Minds of Healthcare Consumers.