The report from Barclays Corporate and Employer Solutions, Talking About My Generation: Exploring the Benefits Engagement Challenge, finds there are now up to five different generations in the workplace and is the first of its kind to consider employee benefits by generation. As a result the research offers a unique insight into the modern multi-generational workforce.
Its key findings include:
- The ‘one size fits all’ employee benefits package, designed by the baby-boomer generation, fails to meet the increasingly different needs of today’s workforce. 87% of employees from Generation X and Generation Y feel their current benefits package is not sufficiently flexible to meet their personal and financial needs.
- Generation Y employees are more than twice as likely (20%) than baby boomers (9%) to be confused about the benefits they are entitled to.
The generational gap
The report reveals “significant” shortcomings in how the priorities, needs and desires of employees from different generations are being addressed by employers.
The five generations studied were:
- Maturists – born pre-1945
- Baby Boomers – born between 1945 and 1960
- Generation X – born between 1961 and 1980
- Generation Y – born between 1981 and 1995
- Generation Z – born after 1995
Many employee benefits schemes are being designed by the baby-boomer generation and include benefits they find attractive, such as company pension schemes, on-going training and personal development, holiday flexibility and flexible working hours.
However younger generations want different benefits and their needs don’t appear to be being considered. For example:
42% of Generation Y employees said that they would value help with a mortgage deposit and 25% would value access to a personal banker through work, this was available to just 4%.
The impact on employee loyalty
According to the research more than one in 10 employees from Generation X (15%) and Generation Y (12%) have considered changing employers to one that offers better benefits in the last 12 months.
It’s well known that the benefits package available is a key driver of employee loyalty. Offering a range of benefits that meets the lifestyle priorities and financial concerns of all the generations within your workforce is crucial if you want to retain your best employees.
What can employers and HR professionals do?
It’s clear from the research that employers and HR professionals need to focus their benefit strategy of meeting the needs of younger employees so that they can retain and develop their top talent.
In order to do this there are a few key tasks you need to do:
- Conduct a survey amongst your employees. Use the survey to discover the generational make-up of your workforce, the types of benefits each generation would like to receive and how they prefer to be communicated with.
- Review your current scheme in-line with your survey results. Does it meet the needs of the different generations? What benefits could be added in or discontinued so that it offers something for every generation?
- Review how you communicate with your workforce. Do you use only one communication channel or are you using several channels? Do these match up with how the different generations of your workforce like to be communicated with?
With the Maturists and Baby Boomers due to retire and more Generation Z entering the workplace employers who don’t try to understand the generational differences of their workforce and adapt their employee benefit packages to suit risk losing their best employees and the future of their business.
John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.