Today’s workforce is remarkably diverse. It encompasses a range of employees – ethnically, generationally, and otherwise. Depending on location, industry, and company history, an employer may have workers from the Baby Boomer generation (born 1946-1964), Generation X (born 1965-1980), Millennials (born 1981-1996), and Generation Z (born 1996-2012).
That poses challenges for your clients as they work to design an employee benefits program that will appeal to the majority of their workers. Good pay can help an employer differentiate itself in a competitive talent marketplace, but benefits can “seal the deal” for employees when they are comparing jobs that offer similar pay.
Workforce and Benefits Studies
The 2023 Workforce Benefits Study developed by Ernst & Young (EY) and LIMRA, the largest trade association supporting the insurance and financial services industry, found a majority of employers (61%) recognize different generational expectations. While medical insurance will likely continue to be an expected benefit among employees, only about half (53%) consider it essential. Non-medical benefits like paid family leave as well as physical and financial wellness programs are increasingly important.
Younger generations are more likely to be interested in mental health treatment and physical wellness, tuition and student loan assistance, and caregiving benefits. The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) found 61% of Gen Z would strongly consider leaving their current job if a new job offered better health benefits.
A CloudBees survey found Gen Z employees often want free workplace lunches among their benefits. Snack options are appreciated, but full meals are preferred. Workplace flexibility is expected, and if remote work is not an option all the time, employees want a policy allowing them to be remote any time when they don’t have in-person meetings.
In a BenefitsPRO article concerning the EY/LIMRA study, columnist Alan Goforth notes that one big challenge for employers is workers’ lack of awareness and understanding of their benefits. He notes that customized communications could help employers “effectively engage and educate employees of different generations.”
Focused on Retirement, Choice
Maybe because they have seen their parents or grandparents struggle as they age or maybe because of the debt they have taken on for their education, Generation Zers – even though they are barely in their 20s – say retirement benefits are of great value. In fact, 85% of participants in a Harris survey said retirement benefits will be a factor in future job hopping and hunting.
Increasingly popular – with Gen Zers and employees across multiple generations – are voluntary benefits. Following double-digit growth in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase of nearly 5.5% in 2022, sales of voluntary products continue to thrive. Eastbridge Consulting Group’s latest U.S. Voluntary/Worksite Sales Report shows total new business premium of $8.75 billion and record high inforce premium of $50.5 billion. Supplemental health products like Critical Illness, Hospital Indemnity, Accident, and Cancer have all seen double-digit growth as employees look for ways to tailor coverage to their specific needs.
Talk With Your Clients
To help your clients compete with other employers in recruiting top talent, it is critical to discuss changes in their HR policies, programs, and employee benefits. Talk with your Word & Brown rep about how we might be able to assist. We work with many of the region’s and nation’s leading insurance carriers, administrators, and benefits partners. We’ll help you find the right combination of products, programs, and services to satisfy your diverse clients’ needs.