Group benefits planning and administration would be waaaaay easier if only everyone valued the same perks. But in reality, employers are challenged to create multigenerational group benefits programs that appeal to as many as four distinct generations — the majority made up of Generation X (Gen X’ers), Baby Boomers (Boomers), and Millennials, and the most recent participants, Generation Z (Gen Z).
These various cohorts have varying desires on what a group benefits program should deliver, expectations shaped by their own experiences, cultural trends and where they are in their lives. Employees are looking to individualize their benefits options to best suit their particular needs. According to Glassdoor, nearly two-thirds of job applicants rate quality of benefits offered as equally important as salary. This raises the bar for companies in terms of their ability to attract, and retain, top talent.
To craft an employee benefits program with multigenerational appeal, employers should first understand each generation’s shared concerns and distinct needs. Only then can employers determine how best to design a group benefits strategy in a way that aligns with those needs.
Let’s take a look at the various generations, their characteristics, and the types of benefits they most desire in order to help you navigate creating a value-first multigenerational group benefits approach.
Millennials were born between 1981 and 1997 and are generally perceived as adaptable, collaborative, and tech-savvy. They also have high expectations of their employers, tend to seek new challenges at work, and aren’t afraid to question authority. There are over 53 million Millennials in the workforce today, more than any other generation.
Generation X, or “Gen X”, born between 1965 and 1980, are often considered the generational “bridge.” These individuals were growing up right as the first computers were being introduced, meaning they can relate to Millennials comfort with new technologies and yet still identify and empathize with Baby Boomers. Gen X’ers tend to make some of the best managers as some possess executive presence, are highly adaptable and also ardent problem solvers. Over 52 million Gen X’ers are working in the U.S. today.
Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. “Boomers” were the largest generation in history until Millennials broke the record. This cohort is characterized as hard-working, driven team players but are sometimes less collaborative as leaders. This generation graduated from college and entered the workforce largely before the rise of personal computing and the internet. But don’t get fooled by stereotypes that say Boomers are afraid of technology. While they may be slower to adopt new technologies and applications, they are open to learning how to effectively utilize them. Although thousands of Boomers are retiring every day there are around 44 million still employed!
The earliest members of Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2015, are now entering the workforce. Employers have spent the past several years trying to design employee benefits programs that will entice and motivate Millennials. But now, as members of Generation Z graduate from college, employers will need to provide the support and freedom these younger workers desire. Gen Z’ers are entrepreneurial, all about technology (think benefits apps!), and welcome change. They also prefer flexibility, independence, and are focused on social responsibility.
What Do They Have In Common?
So what do the generations have in common? Research has found that most every employee is looking for some similar aspects in the workplace such as respect, recognition, and feeling part of a team. However, an area where needs and wants diverge relates to their most valued employee benefits. Let’s take a look at these by individually and learn which benefits each generation finds most valuable so you’re armed with the right info to craft your multigenerational group benefits program.
What Does A Multigenerational Group Benefits Strategy Look Like?
About 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring every day and because they’re the closest generation to retirement age, they value healthcare-related benefits, bonuses, and 401K matching where an employer contributes a percentage of an employee’s salary above and beyond the employee’s own contributions well.
Not as close to retirement, Generation X is in planning mode for what’s to come in the next few decades and the benefits they tend to value are salary, advancement within the company, job security, and work-life balance including healthcare, bonuses and flexible work arrangements.
Millennials are mostly in the beginning to early-mid stages of their careers and, as such, value diverse benefits that affect their working lives, including paid time off, the ability to work remotely, control over their schedules, professional development, and healthcare and wellness initiatives.
Given their characteristics, Gen Z’ers will find ‘lifestyle’ benefits very attractive. Gym memberships, tuition assistance for continuing education, commuter benefits, and health care all score high with this cohort. Another key? Facility of use through benefit apps is paramount to this generation – think Telemedicine (two of our vendors have amazing telemedicine apps).
The quest for app-based benefits has not been lost on insurance providers, but did you know there is a dental insurance company that sends out Bluetooth enabled toothbrushes to everyone who enrolls in their program? The toothbrush syncs with their app and brushing is tracked company-wide. Each year, at renewal, discounts are applied for companies who have “active” brushers! For Gen Z, don’t overlook the usual suspects such as vision, dental, and 401K, all very important benefits that tend to be less costly than health insurance.
How Do You Really Figure Out What Employees Want?
At the end of the day, the best way to get a firm handle on what types of benefits make the most sense for your group benefits strategy is to ask your employees. Conduct a brief survey that will provide key feedback about what is most important to your group. This information will allow you to take a more valuable multigenerational group benefits approach to your benefits strategy, making employees happier – which can lead to improved employee retention and talent acquisition! If you’re unsure where to start, visit our website and enroll in our free course that will walk you through effectively engaging your employees.
About Holloway Benefit Concepts
HBC was founded in early 2011 by Ryan Holloway. After serving over 8 years on active duty in the US Marine Corps, Ryan transitioned from being a full-time marine into an HR professional in early 2003. This began a journey and awoke a passion for helping companies who value their employees. After spending time working with a COBRA and FSA Administrator, an insurance company, and a large brokerage, Ryan realized that there were more unique and creative solutions for businesses than other companies were willing or able to realize. Seizing on his own entrepreneurial spirit, Ryan set out to found an independent agency designed to provide unique and original insurance solutions. To learn more about HBC, visit http://hollowaybenefitconcepts.com/