Tales of Great Bosses: Thinking Out of the ‘Boxed’

How do you motivate a debt-saddled millennial workforce when the economy makes it extremely difficult to plan for the future? That’s the question many millennials are currently facing as they start to raise families in a world that is much different than the ones their parents flourished in. A world where college tuition has risen 150% and the average cost of a wedding has risen 24% to $28,000, or just around a millennial’s average annual salary.

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Boxed CEO Chieh Huang has come up with an uncomplicated solution: cover wedding and college tuition costs for all employees. Boxed, a tech startup that offers Amazon Prime-like home delivery of big-box warehouse goods via mobile app, has experienced fast growth over the last three years when it started in Huang’s garage. He has since expanded to four warehouse locations across the country, and how he treats his employees plays no small part in that success.

Every Boxed employee is eligible for up to $20,000 toward a wedding, and no matter what college their children decide to attend Huang covers the cost out of his own pocket. In a recent NBC News profile, Huang cites his own poor upbringing and his current fortune as a “chance to make it right” for employees who may be struggling with the same fate. The employees interviewed in the segment expressed all manner of positive feedback, saying it helps them focus on the future, lifts a weight from their shoulders, and allows them to feel more confident.

Mind of the Millennial

As well it should, as these two major life expenses have the most potential to wipe a young person’s savings clean. According to Pew Research income disparity is still at pre-Great Depression Era levels. Millennials will forever remember being thrown into the professional world smack at the beginning of a juggernaut financial crisis. Millennial CEOs like Huang are tapping into something potent and powerful with their cohorts when they acknowledge these struggles and give their employees what FDR might call a “New Deal.”