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A Multi-Generational Workforce Means More Focus on Flexible Benefits

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You’ve spent the last decade getting used to having Millennials in the workplace. Now, Gen Z is getting set to start their first jobs. At the same time, Millennials are now moving up, while Gen Xers and Boomers are still important players on your team.

Chances are, this is going to be what your workplace looks like for the foreseeable future. It’s a good thing! The multi-generational workforce has plenty of strengths. Older workers have years of experience and workplace wisdom, while younger workers may have exciting new ideas or skills.

From an HR perspective, the multi-generational workplace does present some challenges. It can seem, at times, that workers of different ages all want different things or have different values.

At the core, though, many of your team members crave the same things. An example would be a more flexible benefit program—one that addresses the needs of your team, no matter where they are on their journey through life.

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What Do Employees Want from Benefits?

When Millennials entered the workplace, there was plenty of talk about how they were “different” than any other generation before them. They weren’t content with the status quo, and they were going to shift workplace culture.

With Gen Z now entering the workforce, employers might be wondering what they’ll do to shift workplace culture.

One thing that eventually emerged was that workers of all generations really want one thing: benefits that fit their needs. Employees who are 60+ may be concerned about retirement or prescription medication plans to help them manage a chronic health condition.

Younger workers have different concerns. Gen Z might be interested in student loan repayment programs, while Millennials might be looking at good dental and medical plans as they begin to get married and have children.

All these employees are expressing a need for your benefits program to address their individual concerns. Younger workers may be more willing to voice this concern, but older employees also want benefits that address their needs.

That’s where flexible benefits come into play.

 

Flexible Benefits Help You Meet Employee Expectations

Traditional employee benefits packages were predicated on the “bulk buying” model. You’d bring 10 or 50 or 200 employee “clients” to the table, then negotiate for better rates on an insurance plan. Every employee would get the same thing: so much for dental, so much for vision care, and so on.

Obviously, these sorts of plans are “cookie cutter.” They rarely take individual employee needs into account. An employee who requires lots of dental work may find they don’t have enough coverage, while another employee who rarely sees the dentist might never use their benefits.

A flexible plan puts the power back into your employees’ hands, allowing them more freedom to choose what they want. Some flexible plans even allow employees to revise their coverage from year to year, so they can shift their plans as their needs evolve.

Employers benefit here too. Traditional benefits plans have seen increasing costs over the last decade or so, particularly with regard to health coverage and the cost of prescription medications. With a more flexible option, you may be able to reduce costs.

That’s a win-win situation. Your employees get the benefits they need and want, and you can keep costs in check while offering better benefits.

 

Listen to Your Employees

The best way to implement flexible benefits for your team is to start a conversation with them. How do they feel about the benefits they have now? What do they use, what do they like, and what don’t they like?

Then, ask them about what their ideal benefits program would look like. You may not be able to offer everything to everyone, but there’s a good chance you can offer something for every employee that will make them feel their benefits package truly fits their lifestyle.

 

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Darwyne Lang

Darwyne Lang

Darwyne is the president and CEO of Apri Insurance Services Inc. Having worked in the industry for over 30 years, he lives the benefits business every day. He is a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). He understand the needs, costs, misconceptions, and effects on brand and culture, and the importance of benefits for employees. No matter what he’s doing, whether for work or pleasure, Darwyne competes at a very high level. He loves to lead and innovate in everything he does.

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