Today’s employees are looking for benefits that go well beyond the basic, the generic, or the cookie-cutter. Rather, today’s employees want benefits that actually address their personal and family needs. Naturally, those needs can look quite a bit different from one employee to the next, which means HR must be ready to build benefits packages that are flexible and customizable.
One of the most important considerations for HR to keep in mind is the generation gap. Simply put, the expectations of a Boomer-aged employee are going to look rather different from the needs of an employee who is 20, 30, even 50 years younger.
The question is, what should HR do to ensure benefits options work well for a multi-generational workforce?
Designing Benefits for a Multi-Generational Team
Benefits for Boomers
Boomers comprise just under three percent of the workforce, but nevertheless: Their needs are important to think about as you weigh different benefits offerings.
Because they are more advanced in age (and because they often have spouses and family members who are similarly advanced in age), as well as because they have a greater likelihood of chronic health conditions, Boomers tend to be especially keen on robust medical, vision, and dental benefits.
Also consider offering workplace wellness programs, which can help Boomers manage those chronic conditions (or prevent them in the first place.) Financial wellness tools can also be useful, as Boomers are nearing retirement while also thinking about things like managing their kids’ or grandkids’ educational funds.
Benefits for Gen Xers
Generation X is the term used to describe employees born between 1965 and 1980. They make up roughly a third of the workforce.
Employees in this demographic usually tell us that medical, vision, and dental benefits are of paramount importance. Also keep in mind that employees in this group may be raising families and/or caring for elderly parents. As such, childcare and dependent-care options can be most welcome.
Financial wellness programs are ideal for Gen Xers who are still paying off student loan debts. Also, flexible hours and PTO policies can go a long way toward helping these employees manage their family obligations and maintain work-life balance.
Benefits for Millennials
Born between 1981 and 2000, millennials make up about 50 percent of the workplace. This is also the demographic most keen on switching jobs, but great benefits packages can help keep them on board with your team.
So, what kinds of benefits do millennials crave? Basic health insurance, but also options to save for retirement, such as Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and 401(k) matching. Also, according to a MetLife Study, 2/3 of Millennials said that this year’s Open Enrollment is more important than the past ones. They stated that 39% were interested in Life Insurance and 34% were looking for resources pertaining to Financial Planning. Millennials are much more likely than any other generation to have massive student loan debts. Student loan benefits can help alleviate some of their financial worries, and potentially enable them to be more engaged with their work.
Work flexibility is also key for this demographic, as millennials can often be allergic to the confines of a typical 9-to-5.
Benefits for Gen Z
Last on our list is Generation Z. The folks in this demographic were born between 2001 and 2020. Naturally, most of them are too young for the workforce, but we’ll briefly mention that their needs and expectations are similar to those of millennials. Also keep in mind that Gen Z, the COVID-19 generation, is uniquely tuned in to the importance of mental health. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and other mental health benefits can be helpful.
Designing Benefits for Your Workforce
As you think about benefits offerings for your business, examine the different generations represented on your team. And with any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at WhiteWater Consulting.