The Next Generation in Workplace Perks

In case you hadn’t heard, millennials recently became the largest group in the US workforce. This influx of 18- to 34-year-old workers is causing companies to rethink their recruitment and retention practices—and it’s part of what’s driving big-name employers like Microsoft and Netflix to offer an expanding array of paid-leave policies. 

“Employers are expanding their benefits programs as the workforce changes,” says Luba Sydor, CEO of Person2Person, a human-resources consulting firm based in Westchester.  “I’ve seen more and more flex-time, flex-location, and flex-vacation [policies], as well as various onsite wellness perks.” 

To understand this trend toward progressive benefits, Allison Madison, president of Madison Approach Staffing in Elmsford, says it’s important to understand that millennials think completely differently about work/life balance than previous generations. “[Millennials] want a fusion between life and work, and they want their work to have meaning,” she says. Madison says her savviest clients are becoming more creative: maintaining traditional benefits, while adding quality of life measures to appeal to millennials.

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So, who are the Westchester firms leading the way in progressive employee benefits? Here are a few:

Mindspark Interactive Network Inc., Yonkers

Progressive benefits: Flex time; 12 weeks paid maternity leave; two weeks paid paternity leave; $1,000 baby bonus; onsite maternity room; free breakfast/snacks; rooftop yoga; time off to volunteer

Who gets them: Full-time employees 

Why the company does it: “All of our benefits and perks are there to show that we care about you the employee and you the person,” says Tim Allen, co-president of Mindspark.   

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What Employees Think: “My favorite perks are the rooftop yoga and energy breaks; they help me refocus during busy days,” says Tracy Reed, facilities manager.

Lockard & Wechsler Direct, Irvington

Progressive Benefits: 12 weeks maternity leave (6 weeks paid); 2 weeks paid paternity; mothers can work from home one to two days per week until their child is 5; graduate school tuition reimbursement; matching charitable contribution benefit (up to $10,000)  

Who gets them: Tuition reimbursement is offered to employees who have been with the firm for one year. For all other benefits, everyone is eligible.

Why they do it: “We want to make sure our employees look forward to coming back every day and do so enthusiastically,” says Dick Wechsler, founder and CEO. 

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What employees think: “The company paid for me to get my MBA while I was working.  More recently, the flexible schedule and maternity policy have been a great benefit for me and my family,” says Asieya Pine, president.

The Energy Project, Yonkers

Progressive Benefits: Flexible telecommuting policy; nap room; free breakfast/snacks; employee stipends to pursue personal and professional development 

Who gets them: Full-time employees

Why they do it: “We believe our culture is our biggest competitive advantage, and the numbers speak for themselves; to date, only one employee has left of her own accord,” says Tony Schwartz, CEO and founder.

What employees think: “I am fortunate to be a part of a working community that is committed to personal development and growth,” says Annie Perrin, executive vice president, faculty and content. 

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