Benefit programs play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining talent – but how can you ensure that your benefits programs meet the diverse needs of employees of different ages?
Currently, there are four different generations in the workforce: so what does each generation value most?
Born between 1946 – 1964, the boomers are well into their midlife. And yet, it is no secret that a lot of mature workers are still active, with 25% of the US workforce being comprised of those aged 58 and above. This is largely due to the fact that people are living longer and healthier lives, and so are better able to work to retirement and beyond.
Therefore, it may come as no surprise that the benefits these people tend to value most are health related – health insurance, dental and vision coverage, as well as retirement plans and discounts on health services (such as chiropractic care).
This generation make up the highest percentage of executive roles, as well as being typically very skilled and specialized. While they have most likely paid off any student debts, they usually have families to support financially and emotionally, and so the benefits they value the most reflect this.
Gen Xers look for 401K plans with matching benefits, opportunities for advancement and opportunities for work-life balance. This would make the offering of increased time off or sabbatical particularly attractive to this generation. As well as being parents and supporting their young-adult children, this generation are likely to have unpaid caring duties towards their elderly parents, and so having specific benefits to help with this caregiving would also be incredibly attractive to this group.
Millennials are those born between 1981 – 1995, and currently make up the majority of the US workforce, at 35%. This group of people are starting to grow their families, pay back student loans and purchase property, and so the benefits they tend to value the most are paid time off, flexible spending for dependent care and health, flexible working schedules, and financial advice.
A survey found that among millennials who already had children, 72% of them cited that the lack of affordable childcare was a barrier to meeting their career goals. When paired with student loan debts and the rising prices of housing, basing your benefit programs around financial assistance in these areas will be extremely enticing to this generation of the workforce.
The most recent influx into the workforce, Gen Z currently only make up 5% of it in the US, but the number is quickly rising. The youngest generation are bringing with them a new attitude towards working life, and prioritize boundaries and balance so that they can indulge in a personal life and avoid physical and mental burnout from being overworked, as seen from the quiet quitting phenomenon.
They value many similar benefits to millennials – paid time off, student loan assistance, flexible working options – but are also the most socially progressive of any generation. A lot of Gen Z candidates are looking for what mental health support services companies are offering, as well as how diverse and inclusive they are, as this reflects the type of culture they will be working in.
Even though different generations want different things, there are ways of appealing to them all through your benefit programs. One way of approaching this is offering a standardized set that considers a key element from each, therefore making you more attractive as an employer to a larger population of workers.
Another way you could do this is by working with your HR team to design benefit programs to support and meet your people in various seasons of life. There are strategic ways you can vary your benefit plan offerings, while managing your benefit compliance responsibilities.
With the cost-of-living crisis happening in real time, understanding the needs of the workforce is paramount to finding, securing, and retaining the right talent for your business.
Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020