Since beginning our company, we’ve often gotten the question, “Why did you start Fringe?”
The short answer? We built Fringe because somebody had to.
I’ve worked as a financial advisor for the better part of a decade, and I can’t count how many “let me explain your benefits to you” conversations I’ve had with clients. Is it because I had unintelligent clients? I doubt it. I was explaining “benefits” to my clients because, at an average age of 35, they were having a hard time wrapping their heads around the fact that they need to be sick, disabled, dead, or 65 years old to benefit from their benefits!
This got me thinking…and yes, it took many years to ruminate. I arrived at this premise:
Employees, particularly millennials, want benefits that meet needs now and can change as life changes … rapidly.
So, as you might expect, we started doing some research to see if this hypothesis had merit. One thing was crystal clear from the jump – millennials want more non-traditional benefits.
According to Care.com, 83% of millennials are willing to make a job change based on family or lifestyle benefits.
Forbes agrees, stating that 83% (sound familiar?) of millennials would change their job for better benefits.
And here’s the big one that has left many CEOs scratching their heads – 89% of millennials prioritize benefits OVER pay raises.
These are the kinds of statistics that leave you wondering, “but why”? Often, I’ll hear “don’t people realize that if they make more money, they can just BUY themselves the kinds of services Fringe offers?” Again, I don’t think it’s a matter of intelligence.
The point is, it’s not about the money! It’s about what the money means.
More salary means “we value you”, “we need you”, “we can’t afford to lose you”, or “it comes with more responsibility”. Greater and more diverse benefits mean “we care about you”. In the end, it seems, this is what it’s all about. It shouldn’t come as a shock that human beings want to feel loved and cared about. Will Fringe benefits alone communicate this message? Of course not. A company’s culture, its core values, and its leadership always have and always will be the greatest determiner of success.
Actually caring about your people is the thing that brings in top talent and makes them stay.
If you’re an HR head or a CEO reading this and you’re hoping Fringe will be the catalyst to turn your culture around and improve those unsightly Glassdoor reviews, sorry, you’ve got deeper problems to address first. If you’re a decision maker in a company that already cares about your people, Fringe is a perfect way to show that care to each individual in a way that makes them feel uniquely provided for.
We built Fringe because the “cafeteria model” needed to become the Starbucks model. If an employee wants a tall coconut-milk caramel latte benefits package, companies needed a way to give her just that. Half-caf? Done. Extra Whip? Not a problem. Like it or not a new generation is taking over the workplace. A generation that knows nothing else but personalization, customization, and celebrating individualism. The companies who embrace this change instead of resisting it will be the companies that thrive in the next 30 years and beyond. Those that don’t simply will not recruit, will not retain, and will not exist.
Fringe benefits that are personalized, holistic, and meet immediate needs in employees’ lives – these are the future. Benefits should not just protect the family from financial hardship. Benefits should spark joy, reduce stress, give time back, and impact the family. We built Fringe to do exactly that.