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September 15, 2023
Today’s organizations face a unique challenge — building generational benefits for a multi-generational workforce. Now, you might be wondering how this is new. Organizations have always had to analyze the generations in their workforce when building talent strategy and benefits.
While this is true, there are two reasons companies face a more complex talent landscape than ever before.
Generational span — today’s workforce spans multiple generational categories, with the Gen X and Millennials leading the way. Gen Z – the nation’s largest demographic group, 90 million strong, will soon expand their influence.
Technological divide — over the past decades we have seen a technological revolution. The workforce spans periods from before the introduction of the internet to the dominance of smartphones and social media and the rise of artificial intelligence.
How can employers start evolving their benefits to best attract and retain multiple generations? By understanding the values, needs and expectations of each group. While generations have some desires in common, there are distinct differences.
Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)
Baby Boomers, the generation that experienced the rise of traditional corporate benefits, place a high value on stability and financial security. For them, a comprehensive benefits package includes health insurance, retirement plans, and job security. Boomers are more likely to prioritize long-term financial planning, such as a generous 401(k) match or pension plans.
Employers can connect with Baby Boomers’ preferences by offering robust retirement planning services and emphasizing the stability and reliability of their organization. Communicating a commitment to long-term employment can also resonate well with this demographic.
Generation X (born 1965-1980)
Generation X, sandwiched between Baby Boomers and Millennials, often seeks a balance between their work and personal lives. They prioritize benefits that support their families, such as flexible work arrangements, childcare support, and education assistance. They appreciate the ability to juggle their career with family responsibilities.
Employers can appeal to Generation X by providing flexible work options, including remote work, and family-friendly policies like paid parental leave and childcare assistance. Recognizing the importance of work-life balance and offering opportunities for career advancement can also be effective in retaining this group.
Millennials (born 1981-1996):
Millennials, often referred to as the tech-savvy generation, are a complex group whose upbringings span the early days of the internet as well as the development of smartphones and social media.
They tend to value experiences and personal growth. Older millennials may be more interested in traditional benefits that prioritize their growing families and careers. Younger millennials prioritize career development, wellness programs and work-life integration. They appreciate learning opportunities and seek employers who offer a sense of purpose and social responsibility.
When building generational benefits to support millennials, companies should invest in professional development programs, wellness initiatives and flexible work arrangements. Organizations that boast a positive work culture, diversity and inclusion efforts and sustainability initiatives will effectively connect with this generation.
Generation Z (born 1997-2012):
The newest entrants to the workforce, Generation Z – the digital natives. Growing up in a fully digitized, tech driven world, Gen Z is characterized by a powerful desire for social impact.
They prioritize benefits that promote growth, mentorship opportunities and sustainability efforts. One of their main priorities is to find an employer who aligns with their values and provides a clear path for career advancement.
To resonate with Generation Z, organizations should focus on career development programs, mentorship opportunities and initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. And you must leverage technology.
Connect with this generation with digital communication and education, creative benefits such as student loan assistance and a mission that resonates.
Fundamental understanding of the generations of your workforce is important. But it is just as important to realize that these insights are guidelines. Your workforce, and your talent pool are unique. Individuals may differ from generational norms.
Understand your people and what they prioritize, want and need from your benefits package. The best way to find out — ask them. Benefit and wellness program surveys can help you prioritize changes that will best serve your workforce.
Seek to understand your team. They span generations and interact with benefits in distinct ways. Armed with understanding, you can create a generational benefits plan that creates an inclusive and attractive workplace and fosters a more engaged, empowered and motivated workforce.