Your Multigenerational Workforce Needs Broader Family-Friendly Benefits

There are now five—count ’em, FIVE!—generations in the American workforce: Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists. This means people in their late teens are working alongside those in their 60s and 70s in greater numbers than ever.

The fact is, this multigenerational workforce offers distinct advantages to companies in terms of their ability to solve problems, perform effectively and innovate. Indeed, the multigenerational workforce is ushering in a new era of collaboration and knowledge sharing thanks to the increased opportunities it brings for mentoring and reverse mentoring (younger employees helping older ones to learn new skills).

On the other hand, our increasingly age-diverse workforce also represents a challenge to employers in terms of managing and supporting their varied needs—putting together a sufficiently broad benefits package, for example, that effectively supports every generation of workers.

Family-Friendly Benefits on the Rise
As the workforce’s age range has widened, employers have had to broaden their benefits and support programs accordingly. In addition to offering traditional medical insurance, 401k plans, childcare services and the like, employers have been augmenting their benefits packages with family-friendly programs such as senior care management, backup care, lactation programs for working mothers, adoption services, expanded parental leave, financial wellness services, and pet insurance.

These family-friendly benefits are vital to workers’ ability to balance their increasingly hectic lives, meet the demands of caring for children and aging loved ones, and address financial challenges such as paying off hefty student loans or simply making ends meet. Most employers also recognize that providing family-friendly support makes their employees more focused, productive and loyal.

In a recent press release from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, associate vice president of content, Julie Stich, said, “There is definitely a growing trend of employers providing family-friendly benefits,” referring to a study the Foundation conducted that showed a steady, across-the-board increase in these benefits in recent years. Specific benefits that have seen increases in the past two years include: dependent care flexible spending accounts, resource and referral services for child care, financial assistance for adoption, and 529 plans.

3 Tips for Effective Benefits Design

3 Tips for Effective Benefits Design
When designing a benefits package, it goes without saying that surveying your employees is the best way to determine their most desired types of programs and support. In fact, designing a benefits package without conducting a survey is a missed opportunity to align your benefits with employees’ needs.

In addition to surveying your employees, there are three things you should do when planning and assembling your benefits package:

  1. Know the difference between nice-to-have and must-have programs. This is an easy distinction to make if you survey your workers because you can ask them to identify specific programs that are top priority versus those that are lower on their wish list. While this seems like a rather obvious suggestion, employers often make the mistake of generalizing—deciding all Millennials want flexible work schedules or all Baby Boomers are focused on retirement plans, for example—when putting together a benefits package. Then they wonder why the programs they’ve invested in aren’t being utilized.
  1. Know your workforce’s demographics. Your workforce is unique in terms of its exact makeup and age range. Knowing your employees’ demographics is immensely helpful as you think about and research the best types of benefits to offer. Once you know which generations you’re serving and the size of each group, you can better determine which programs address their needs and provide the support necessary to keep them productive and engaged in their work.
  1. Know what your competitors are offering. In today’s competitive talent market, it’s a good idea to know what benefits your rivals are using to lure candidates and current employees away from you. It’s equally useful to know the holes in your competitors’ offerings, as you can exploit them when communicating with employees, promoting your job openings and cultivating relationships with candidates. In addition, knowing your competitors’ benefit offerings might even reveal a few good ideas that you can “borrow” for your own organization.

 With a little effort and some insights from your workforce, you can assemble a multigenerational, family-friendly benefits package that will attract workers of all ages … and keep them loyal for ages to come.

If you’d like to learn more about implementing high-impact family-friendly support programs, contact us here or call us at (866) 675-3751.