Millennials always have a unique way of looking at things. And a report by global market research agency Kantar TNS on Wednesday confirms this. The report says that Indian millennials look for employee perks more than financial benefits in a job.

The report—'The quality of life'—commissioned by Sodexo, points out that the top employee perks, or non–financial benefits, are meal benefits and flexible working hours, which lead to enhanced employee experience.

The survey, which covered an equal number of millennials and non-millennials, found that Indian non-millennials want more financial benefits compared to millennials. “While the non-millennials wanted more financial benefit, millennials prefer flexibility," the report said. However, what should alarm business leaders is that "38% of millennials said they were thinking about switching jobs in the next six months”, the report says.

The most-preferred benefits globally, according to the report, are company or peer awards, career development programmes, and flexible working hours, besides financial benefits.

However, financial benefit was not as important in India as compared to China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Employees in India give a lot of value to learning and leisure, flexible working hours, career development programmes, meals, gifts, holidays, travel cards, and company and peer awards. For example, employees of multinational companies prefer career development programmes, while part-time workers desire more leisure and culture vouchers, the report says.

In contrast, most employees in China preferred financial benefits, followed by company/peer awards.

The report, aimed at organisations to make them aware of what keeps their employees happy—professionally and personally—says they need to keep employees at the heart of their businesses if they want to thrive in a rapidly shrinking world.

“And, this is where employee experience comes into play. Just as the last few years focussed on customer experience, the next few will need to centre around employee experience,” Sodexo said in a statement.

“Perhaps that is why 2019 is being hailed as the year of employee experience—the year that will bring a definitive change in the way organisations view, treat, and engage with their employees.”

The study also found that the Indian corporate world is the only one among the Asian countries surveyed that has been best able to fulfill the expectations of employees with respect to flexible working hours.

“The flexibility of working from home or following flexible work schedules is most widely offered to employees in India," the report says. Overall, on satisfaction with employers’ services, India and China ranked at the top.

While China delivers very well on transportation, wellness programmes, concierge services, and restaurants, India on does well on cleaning, reception services, meeting management, cafeteria, food vouchers, and employee recognition programmes.

So, what does this mean for employers in India? The report says that while financial benefits are obviously important, and organisations need to structure their compensation package well, they must pay heed to their employees’ unstated wants.

“Good health insurance that will cover the employees’ dependents is mandatory. So is flexibility. Employees are but an (inward) extension of customers; they are the first clients of the organisation. Hence, before the customers, they are the ones that must be wooed. Strategically, organisations need to first conquer the workplace before they can conquer the marketplace,” the study says.

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