Engaging and retaining a multi-generational workforce can be challenging to say the least. Keeping your benefits mix diverse and empathetic means meeting your people where they want to be met. But providing employees with the benefits they need, while ensuring those benefits feel personalized to the individual, while at the same time balancing the organization’s benefits budget—well, it’s easier said than done.
In today’s workplace, it’s crucial for HR to recognize and embrace the unique perspectives that each generation brings. With their diverse professional and personal experiences, employees from different generations have different needs, from financial to physical health to lifestyle. Understanding and adapting to these evolving needs is not only essential for HR, but it also to retaining and attracting top talent.
The changing financial landscape affects everyone, and it’s especially tough for younger generations. Inflation and economic shifts are squeezing their disposable income, making it hard to save for the future. According to Bank of America, Gen Zers report that inflation has caused them to cut unnecessary spending by over 2% over the last year and they’re expecting to keep it that way going into next year. On the other hand, Boomers reported an increase in spending of over 2.5%.
This gap in spending between the generations illustrates that financial stability means different things to different generations. For those approaching retirement, it may seem scary to see that their 401(k) savings have dropped up to 20% in the last year, according to NASDAQ. But for younger generations, having a stockpile of funds to get them through the next unexpected thing is more important than planning for retirement.
According to our 2023 Benefits Insights Report, 45% of employees would feel panicked about a large, unexpected expense, like an ER bill. Consumer spending accounts, like HSAs (health spending accounts), FSAs (flexible spending accounts) and LSAs (lifestyle spending accounts), can be an attractive benefit offering for any generation. Increasing participation and enrollment in the options that your organization already provides is one way to ensure your employees have additional financial support.
Employers have the power to ease financial concerns by guiding their employees with the right education, tools, and resources. Offering pre-planning resources, retirement planning options, and consumer spending account education is a great start. By empowering their employees with what they need, they can secure their financial futures, no matter what lies ahead or what stage of life they’re in.
Taking care of your employees goes beyond offering medical, dental, and vision benefits. It’s about understanding their holistic needs and supporting their wellbeing. Today’s workforce wants voluntary benefits and solutions that promote flexibility, mental health, family planning, and caregiver resources.
Employees value workplaces that recognize that their personal and professional lives are intertwined. Employers who show empathy and meet employees where they are in their life journey can create a more supportive work environment.
The number one empathetic benefit in the workplace is flexibility—96% of employees say flexible work hours are important, yet only 39% of employers are offering them. Offering flexible work hours and genuinely caring about employees’ personal lives fosters a sense of understanding and support.
But empathetic benefits aren’t just valuable for an employee’s emotional needs—offering unique benefits is important for their overall wellbeing too. By offering a wide range of benefits like pet insurance, accident coverage, critical illness protection, identity protection, and fertility resources, employers help their employees handle life’s challenges. These benefits go beyond the workplace and address personal matters that greatly affect employee engagement and their overall wellbeing. They show that employers are committed to the wellness of their entire workforce, both in and out of the office.
Taking a proactive approach to the health and wellness of your employees saves both them and you in medical costs. Wellness plans that encourage regular check-ups and physicals are crucial for maintaining overall wellbeing. Employees who seek preventative care for their health are not only more productive and engaged at work, but also experience lower healthcare costs in the long term, according to OPM. This means lower claims costs for employers, too! According to the CDC, “well-implemented workplace health programs can lead to 25% savings each on absenteeism, health care costs, and workers’ compensation and disability management claims costs.”
Furthermore, in a world where personal and professional boundaries are increasingly blurred, it is essential to prioritize the mental health of employees, ensuring that they can bring their authentic selves to work and beyond. Providing resources for mental health, such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), can have a transformative effect. By offering these benefits, employers contribute to creating a workforce that is both physically and mentally healthy.
Employee benefits have come a long way from just medical, dental, and vision coverage. Now, they cover all aspects of life, from helping younger generations secure their finances, to supporting families with fertility resources, to retirement planning, and everything in between. Employers must recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work anymore. If you’re not sure what your employees need, just ask them! Seek feedback from them about your benefits offering. This creates a culture of empathy, understanding and support, resulting in a more engaged and loyal workforce.
As the modern workplace continues to change, diverse employee benefits not only attract top talent but also help retain and nurture a diverse workforce. It’s a journey of adaptation and inclusivity that leads to success for both employers and their employees.
Communicating all of the value of the benefits you offer—the hidden paycheck, or total rewards—is not always easy. By partnering with benefits administrators, you can introduce employees to the right benefits at the right time. Using tools like decision-support or AI assistants, you can make it easier for employees to access the benefits they need for overall wellbeing.
Maximize the impact of the hidden paycheck with more Benefits Insights.