Your employees bring strength to your company with their diversity. Still, generational divides in life philosophy, workplace expectations, and company perks definitely exist. How can you zero in on the needs of everyone as you develop your benefits communications for 2020’s Open Enrollment?
Help benefits make sense for your multi-generational employee base by developing talking points that speak to their different stages of life and career. Let’s break it down by generation and focus on key benefits which best serve the cultural expectations and real-life needs of Gen Z, Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. While they’re not one-size-fits-all, you can tool messaging around offerings which play to each generation’s needs.
Gen Z Employee Benefits
Our newest young twenty-somethings, Gen Z employees, are entering the workforce and starting their careers. Highly mobile, searching for purpose in their work, keenly aware of mental health, and dealing with mammoth student loans, these new employees need basic education how employer-provided benefits work. They may be skeptical of saving for the future right now, but emphasizing the portability of benefits like 401Ks and HSAs as savings accounts that travel with them no matter where their career takes them is beneficial.
Benefits that will resonate with many Gen Z employees include high-deductible healthcare plans which cost less per month, student loan repayment programs, and tuition reimbursement for those still continuing their educations. Make sure they’re aware of EAP as well, since this generation is keenly aware of the importance of mental health. Flexibility, and the use of paid leave and vacation time, will also be of interest to Gen Z, who value their downtime.
Millennial Employee Benefits
As the oldest Millennials reach forty, this generation is still dealing with the fall-out of multiple recessions and the 2008 financial crisis. Many feel they’re behind where their parents might have been at this stage in their life, but they still want the traditional trappings of American life: a family, a house, paid vacation. Millennials also have an expectation of more flexibility and cooperation from their employers than generations before. They want work-life balance, and they’re willing to take their talents elsewhere if they can’t find it.
Benefits your Millennial employees will crave include affordable healthcare which they can actually use regularly, meaning high-deductible plans might fall from favor as Millennials age up and their families grow. Many deal with seemingly insurmountable student loans, so student loan repayment programs will be just as popular with this group as with Gen Z. Millennials are also looking ahead to their career as a whole and beyond, which means education reimbursement, advancement programs, and retirement funding are all on their minds.
Look for benefits in your portfolio which will help Millennials deal with their debt, grow in their career, and put down firm roots for the future.
Generation X Employee Benefits
While their growing children and aging parents are primary concerns for many Gen X’ers outside of work, at the office they’re still moving up the ladder and putting their generation’s independent work ethic to good use. This is the first generation to truly say they need work/life balance and flexibility so that they can balance their family needs with their career goals. Also hit hard by the instability of the past decades, Gen X employees need help reaching financial goals to pay down debt, update their education, and begin saving for retirement.
Key talking points for your Gen X employees can revolve around financial stability and flexibility. Everything from childcare assistance to eldercare will appeal to this generation, and if they haven’t yet invested in a 401K, now is the time to explain this topic in detail — especially if matching benefits are part of your portfolio. Gen Xers concerned about aging parents may benefit from a Dependent Care FSA.
Employee purchase programs and employee discount programs are also popular with Gen X employees. Additionally, healthcare which supports both the individual and dependents will be a natural fit to their growing families.
Baby Boomer Employee Benefits
As you might expect, healthcare and retirement options are chief on the most-wanted benefits list for Baby Boomers. This generation is entering the latter stages of their careers, and while many still have work goals to achieve, they’re thinking about their post-work future.
While healthcare plans that emphasize high deductibles over affordable copays may not be the best option, HSAs and FSAs can help out Boomers by reducing their tax burden and protecting retirement savings. Educate your Boomer generation about the value of investing in HSAs, including their value into retirement, such as penalty-free money withdrawals after the age of 65. Additional healthcare benefits like critical care insurance and life insurance are also valuable to Boomers.
And don’t forget that finances are very much a Boomer concern, from student loan debt to saving for retirement. Any financial benefits, especially a 401K with employer matching, should be front and center in Boomer benefits communications.
How to Communicate with Multiple Generations
A robust plan which takes each generations’ preferred means of communication is the best way to get employees the information they need for benefits enrollment. You’ll want to offer a little bit of everything.
Gen Z are tech natives, and they’ll respond well to video, social media-style posts, and web communications like Wikis and FAQs that answer their specific questions about benefits. You can use short paragraphs and lots of white space and images to keep their speedy scrolling engaging.
Millennials stand astride the native/adopter tech curve, but they lean towards tech and rarely use their phones for conversation. Much like Gen Z, they respond best to engaging web and email content, or short posts with graphics.
Generation X tend to be a little more flexible with communications. They’re generally tech-savvy and comfortable with an online/email-only communication strategy, but don’t mind in-person meetings if they deem them necessary. Reminders of how benefits can help them help this highly individualistic generation get engaged.
For Boomers, although email and online video are useful, a conversation to hash out questions is often a preference. While face-to-face communication might be challenging this year, your company might look into a call center team for help fielding questions about benefits.
Web Benefits Design can offer you support on all of these communication methods, from digital communication packages to professional call center support. We can even take your enrollment to the next level with our custom sites, with tools like decision support, video education, and more baked right in! Contact us or check out our What We Do page to learn more about how we can help your employees access the benefits they need and love.