“Finding creating ways to attract and retain employees is even more important when it comes to the Y generation, which is known for frequent movement from one employer to another,” PDF Financial Group managing director Peter Demangos told HRM. “As result, we may see greater emphasis on customised benefit programmes that provide more flexibility and choice.”
A workplace can’t have one plan for those aged 18 to 30 and another for 31 to 50-year-olds, so working flexibility into your plan is the best way to guarantee everyone is getting what they need.
Young workers tend to use benefits less than their older colleagues, but there are still areas of high demand. Anti-depressant use is becoming increasingly common, as is ulcer treatment for younger people, including students, so an EAP and other stress-management resources
could be vital for your anxious young employees.
Because of their reduced use, Gen Y may not show interest or work to understand their benefits, so communication is vital.
“Communicating to the different generations is key,” said Green Shield director of product design and marketing Karen Kesteris. “The way you would communicate to a 23-year-old is not the same way you would communicate to a 60-year-old. It’s important to find as many mediums as possible.”
Kesteris said the push towards flexible plans was about meeting the needs of not just Gen Y, but also Gen X and Baby Boomers. It was important to simplify the message to make it easy to understand, and to communicate to each cohort in a way they were comfortable with.
The trend towards self-service, similar to the changes seen in the banking industry over the last decade, meant employees had more control, but also needed to be better educated.
“It’s about placing the responsibility on the employee and taking the plan sponsor/employer out of the equation,” Kesteris said. “Consumerism is key and giving [employees] flexibility to pick and choose which benefits are suitable for the stage of life they’re in.”
With up to four generations working in the same workplace it can be difficult to meet the needs of all workers. Gen Y is focused on flexibility, and it’s the same for its benefit wants.