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Workplace Employee Benefits Serve Diverse Generations

Employee Benefits

Workplace Employee Benefits Serve Diverse Generations

Workplace employee benefits — and employees’ perception of them — are changing. How employers choose to respond to these changes will determine how well they succeed in offering competitive workplace employee benefits packages to support their efforts to recruit and retain talented employees.

With the labor market as heated and tight as it is today, good talent is hard to find, and perhaps even more challenging to keep. Employees have lots of options, and workplace employee benefits may be the biggest part of the equation when considering their next move. Employers need to be competitive in their offerings, and that means evolving to meet workers’ expectations for all ages and stages of life. On the cusp of retirement, Baby Boomers have different needs and expectations than Generation X or Millennial employees.  Managing expenses related to caring for parents or children and paying off debt may be an interest which appeals to workers across multiple demographics.

A new survey from benefits consulting firm Aon Hewitt, cited in onrec, an online recruitment resource, supports the idea that the world of workplace employee benefits is shifting, and that employers need to up their game if they want to continue to remain competitive when bringing new hires on board and retaining them for the long term. As we’ve opined before on 401kTV, one-size-fits-all benefits no longer fit the bill for today’s workforce. After all, this is 2019 — not 1978.

According to Aon Hewitt’s Benefits and Trends Survey 2019, 97% of employers agree that employees’ expectations of their experience in the workplace are changing, and that includes workplace employee benefits. In fact, almost 90% of employees believe they will have to change their benefits offerings to meet the needs of future generations, and half of employers say their current workplace employee benefits don’t meet the needs of all generations, the survey found.

Here are more key findings from the survey:

  • 60% of employers said they are now, or expect to be, competing for talent in different market sectors
  • 98% said employees now expect more flexible working hours
  • 89% said they expect agile/home working to be available
  • 79% expect to make changes around better awareness of mental health issues, better approaches to diversity and inclusion (65%), and improved maternity/paternity/parental leave policies (63%)

According to Aon, the survey results indicate that the majority of respondents have either undergone fundamental changes to their workplace employee benefits or expect to in the near future. Only 29.5% said they expected no change in their workplace employee benefits within the next five years.

Technology is a primary driver of the shift in workplace employee benefits. In addition, the issues facing generations are different from one to the next, so their needs vary regarding the workplace employee benefits that fit them best. For example, Baby Boomers who had access to pensions may be more likely to be better off in retirement, whereas Millennials are struggling under the weight of student loan debt and, due to less than ideal financial circumstances, are putting off major life decisions, such as buying a home.

Employers are no stranger to the differing needs of a workforce that now spans four generations, and they are also acutely aware that workers’ expectations of their experience in the workplace is currently undergoing a sea change. As such, workplace employee benefits must also evolve to meet employees’ shifting needs, priorities and values. As such, employers should consider innovative ways to improve their workplace employee benefits to compete at a time where there are more jobs than people to fill them. Going forward, the success of employers’ recruiting and retention efforts may depend in large part on their ability to be flexible and change with the needs of today’s workers. Old, outdated workplace employee benefits paradigms are no longer relevant.

Robyn Kurdek

Robyn Kurdek

Freelance writer with nearly 2 decades of financial industry experience, with niche expertise in the defined contribution (DC) industry. I also have defined benefit (DB) plan knowledge. I write all types of content for retirement plan participants, sponsors and advisors, including web copy, newsletters, white papers, fact sheets, blog posts, financial wellness articles, and more. "I speak DC."
Robyn Kurdek
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