11 November 2020
It is an undeniable fact that employee benefit packages are a core component in any job, alongside compensation packages. The multi-generational workforce; BabyBoomers, Gen X , Gen Y and the younger Gen Z is the new norm of the workforce.
Employees in different life stages may want and need different benefits. The diversity of workforce composition means organization must be creative in tailoring benefit packages to better suit each generation’s demand. As there is no one-size-fits all solutions, employee benefits planning will need to be viewed through a multigenerational lens. Understanding the generational perspectives and customization of benefits offering can translate to many benefits for the organizations – notably improved employee satisfaction and better employee retention.
Today’s multi-generational workforce comprises the following groups:
Born between 1946 and 1964: Baby Boomers
Born between 1965 and 1976: Generation X
Born between 1977 and 1994: Generation Y (also known as the Millennials)
Born from 1995 onwards: Generation Z (known as the iGeneration)
This generation is known as being the hardest-working generation, often prioritizing work over personal life. Baby boomers face unique challenges that drive them to desire certain benefits. For example, many members of this generation will face having to take care of an older family member, so offering some flexible work options would be appealing to them. Boomers are the generation most likely to retire due to lack of transferable skills, so offering continuous training can help to keep them relevant and employable. And of course, as Baby Boomers age, they value health and retirement benefits. Employers can go the extra mile by making these benefits more accessible through health insurance and specialized medical coverage.
Gen X are not merely motivated through monetary benefits. These members are increasingly part of the “sandwich generation” where they may be faced with caring for both elderly and younger family members. A combination of commitments including mortgages, childcare and healthcare will probably be their main concerns. Flexible work condition is highly appreciated and employers should consider offering flexible work arrangements and family leave policies to this group.
The digital revolution has given the Millennials generation a very different outlook to their older peers. Infamously, they are known for their orientation towards monetary benefits. Thus, while structuring the Compensation & Benefits, monetary compensation should contain significant weightage. This generation is the leader in desiring workplace flexibility, especially the ability to work remotely. Benefits that signify purposes - such as career advancement and personal development – are important to them.
Gen Z share many traits with millennials but are more vocal, entrepreneurial and tech savvy. This age group greatly prefers the on-the-go convenience of their mobile devices over PCs and even laptops. They are generally free-spirit and require lots of flexibility in working. Expressing individual identity and celebrating diversity is important to this group of employees. They will also very probably be strapped for cash if they are just starting out work. With this in mind, immediate tangible benefits, such as vouchers and gift cards, tend to work well with this group.
Even though the needs of multi-generational workforce differ but there is some commonality in what they value. Across all generations, the most-valued benefits are ones that offer flexibility while improving work-life balance. Both flexible hours and work-from-home arrangements are affordable perks for organisations that want to offer appealing benefits but find the cost overwhelming. The disruption of work caused by the pandemic has made this desire for work flexibility turning into a reality. Working remotely without a need to be in the physical workplace may be the new norm in post-covid19 environment.
Offering benefits that satisfy a multi-generational workforce can be challenging for employers to manage. Organisations that successfully leverage these differences will be able to bring out the best in their people, build a healthy talent pipeline and ensure sustainable business growth. With the uncertainty in economic conditions accentuated by the current crisis, organisations that succeed in balancing the people and profitability metric will thrive in the long run.