There has never been more diversity in the workplace than there is right now. Many companies have four or five generations of workers, with millennials making up the most significant portion of the workforce. However, each generation brings something valuable and unique to the table for businesses. To be an inclusive organization for all ages, as an employer, you need to offer a robust benefits package to your employees. The reality is — we all require different benefits depending on our current stage of life. With so many generations working for an organization at once, you must offer benefits that cater to each generation’s needs. By doing so, you increase the chances of attracting new talent and keeping your existing talent.
At first, this may seem like an overwhelming task, but it is pretty simple if you break it down. The first step is to know your workforce. Is it primarily young? Are they still on their parent’s plan, or have families themselves? If older, are they ready for Medicare but still working? After assessing your organization’s demographics and diversity, you have a better idea of the benefits that might be of interest to them.
As an organization, you have three options in terms of paying for benefits. You can either pay for 100% of the benefits, share the cost of benefits with your employees, or offer voluntary benefits. Voluntary benefits are available to employees, but they are 100% paid by the employee. While many organizations cover medical care under a cost-share plan with employees, benefits such as vision, dental and life are offered as voluntary benefits. Offering certain benefits as voluntary is key for companies to manage the costs of their benefits package. The company doesn’t take a financial hit with voluntary benefits but still offers the benefit individually, so employees can select the benefit if they choose. It is also important to keep in mind that not all benefits have to be insurance-related. Offering different types of 401(k) programs, flexible work schedules, and paid time off (PTO) can be creative ways to attract talent.
Different generations want different benefits! Let’s start with the baby boomers. Many baby boomers are nearing retirement age, so they are concerned about having a robust 401(k) plan with a match from their employer. Baby boomers are also older individuals who are still working, so they are concerned about having premium medical coverage that will cover extended hospital stays if something does happen. In addition to these two benefits, baby boomers are interested in flexible work schedules. While some baby boomers might be ready to retire, many still like to work, just not full-time. By offering your older working population part-time work or flexible schedules, they might be inclined to stay with the organization for an extended period.
Generation X didn’t grow up with technology, but they are relatively tech-savvy. Still, many of them prefer in-person communication. Gen X individuals tend to be more focused on money for themselves and their dependents. Therefore, they prefer to have substantial 401(k) match programs, stock options, and mortgage services. They also tend to want voluntary life insurance to make sure their family will be taken care of if anything happens. Many Gen X individuals have older children starting to get off their plan, so benefits such as on-site childcare and childcare reimbursement aren’t needed. Specifically, Gen X individuals want medical care that provides preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies.
Up next are the Millennials. Millennials are a tech-savvy bunch, given they grew up with the emergence of many new forms of technology. Millennials prefer to communicate digitally, as well as have open enrollment forms done online. If you want more participation in your plan for this generation, make the move to online. Whether an app or website, moving your enrollment online could improve your organization’s number of plan participants. Millennials are also at the age to start growing their families. Given this, they need substantial medical insurance that has good coverage for their children. Many in this generation are searching for employer-covered dental and vision plans as their children approach the age of needing glasses and braces. Millennials stress the importance of having dental and vision benefits, though they aren’t willing to sacrifice a huge chunk of their paycheck for these services. Another benefit important to Millennials is paid time off. This generation values work-life balance and is making significant pushes for unlimited PTO.
Lastly, we have Gen Z — the youngest professionals in the workforce. Gen Z is primarily concerned with the social responsibility model of business and giving back. Therefore, offering PTO to volunteer is essential to Gen Z. Also critical to Gen Z… business development. Gen Zers are particularly concerned about moving up the ladder in their industry. As a result, they value business development programs that will teach them the needed skills to grow. Another concern among Gen Z is student debt. Behind Millennials, Gen Z has the most student debt. As a result, Gen Z values tuition repayment options as an added benefit. Gen Z is not particularly concerned with benefits since they can stay on their parent plans until they are 26. If you are looking for insurance plans for Gen Z, make sure they get a basic and affordable plan. With many Gen Z individuals in entry-level jobs, they don’t have a ton of disposable income, therefore, they are looking for a basic program that provides coverage at a low cost.
As you’ve seen, each generation has its own unique needs. If you want to be a successful business, you need to do your part and recruit individuals in each generation. Having a multigenerational organization can improve creativity and morale within a company. Make sure that you aren’t on the outside looking in when it comes to providing a benefits package that caters to each generation.
Published By: Jeffrey Duvic