Staples Advantage Workplace Index Finds Salary is a Priority for Millennials, Debunking a Common Myth

Index Uncovers Five Nontraditional Ways to Attract and Retain
Millennial Employees

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Contrary to popular belief, millennials are as motivated by salary as
their older cohorts, according to the Staples
Advantage Workplace Index
, a recent study of office workers in the
U.S. and Canada, conducted by the business-to-business division of
Staples. Almost one third of millennials (29 percent) report that higher
salary is the biggest contributor to their loyalty, despite only 20
percent of the broader workforce reporting the same.

“Millennials are becoming the largest demographic in the U.S. workforce
– about one third of all workers – so it’s critical for employers to
understand how to attract and retain millennial talent,” said John
Burke, senior vice president, chief culture officer, Staples, Inc. “Our
Workplace Index found that contrary to popular belief, salary is
important to millennials, just as it is to older workers.” The survey
also revealed that flexibility and office perks are key to retaining to

Five unconventional ways to attract and retain millennial talent

U.S. office workers as a whole consider title and work responsibilities
(38 percent) and work-life balance (30 percent) as leading contributors
to their loyalty. Millennials favor more nontraditional benefits in the

  • Flexibility where and when they work: Over half of millennials
    report they work from home after the standard work day is done,
    compared to only 39 percent of all U.S. office workers. Given this, it
    is no surprise that millennials say more flexibility will improve
    their happiness (49 percent) and their productivity (59 percent).
  • Office perks promote positive culture: Office perks, such as a
    gym on site, a well-stocked breakroom, and free lunches, are valuable
    to millennials. One in five (21 percent) define a good work culture as
    a place that offers incentives and perks, and nearly half (46 percent)
    say more office perks would improve their happiness.
  • Eco-friendliness appeals to altruistic millennials: Eco-friendly
    practices in the workplace can provide benefits not only for the
    environment, but for recruiting millennials as well. When making an
    employment decision, half of all millennials say an eco-friendly
    company is important, compared to only 35 percent of the broader
  • Improved breakroom and encouraged break time: Over a third of
    millennials (34 percent) say they feel like they can’t take a break
    because of guilt, compared to only 22 percent of all U.S. office
    workers. However, over half of millennials (62 percent) say having a
    break time to refresh would increase their productivity. Millennials
    also say a well-stocked breakroom leads to happier employees (57
    percent), less stress (35 percent), more productive employees (35
    percent), and a more social environment (33 percent).
  • Trust in leadership and relationship with direct boss: Millennials
    that are not expecting to change jobs note that trust in leadership
    and trust in their direct boss contributes to their loyalty. In
    addition, one in five millennials report that their direct boss
    motivates them to do their best work, and over a third (35 percent)
    note that strong leadership defines a good work culture. Feedback from
    their boss is also important to this generation. Nearly one third of
    millennials (28 percent) say feeling appreciated contributes to their
    loyalty and 26 percent say recognition motivates them to do their best
    at work.

The majority of millennials (70 percent) expect to be in a management
position in the next five years, compared to 48 percent of the broader
workforce. With more millennials expected to rise to management
positions in the coming years, we expect these nontraditional benefits
to continue to become more prominent in U.S. workplaces.

Key considerations that drive millennial productivity

Millennials seem to be less concerned with technology issues than the
broader employee base. While 72 percent of all U.S. office workers say
poorly performing technology decreases their productivity, only 56
percent of millennials reported the same. In addition, 49 percent of
millennials say limited IT support will decrease productivity, compared
to 62 percent of all U.S. office workers.

Millennials are also social media natives, and as such, it does not seem
to negatively impact their productivity. In fact, they say the use of
social networking sites/tools (28 percent) and apps that track to-do
lists (42 percent) actually increase their productivity.

When asked how employers can help employees combat overwork and burnout,
the majority of the broader employee base (54 percent) said employers
should decrease their workload or provide more time to complete tasks,
compared to only 42 percent of millennials. This could be due to
millennials having grown up in the digital age where the always-on
mentality has dominated, so their threshold for information overload is
a bit higher.

Staples Advantage Workplace Index Methodology

The survey was conducted among 2,602 employees 18 or older across a
variety of companies, both in size, geography and industry. A total of
1,528 employees were interviewed in the U.S. (1,026 were classified as
general workers and 502 as business decision makers). A total of 1,074
employees were interviewed in Canada (744 general office workers and 330
decision makers). The interviews were conducted online by Redshift
Research in May 2015. This survey has a margin of error of +/- 1.9
percent at 95 percent confidence limits.


About Staples Advantage

Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc.
(Nasdaq: SPLS), serves organizations of 10 or more employees up to the
Fortune 1000, helping them make more happen with more products, greater
cost savings and improved ordering efficiencies. Staples Advantage
provides its customers, including global businesses, local, state and
federal government, healthcare organizations and educational
institutions, with a one source solution featuring comprehensive
products and services like office supplies, technology, printing,
promotional products, furniture and facility supplies, along with a
customized level of account support and best-in-class customer service.
More information is available at


Staples, Inc.
Shweta Agarwal, 508-253-8249