November 4th, 2021

What Employee Benefits Each Generation Wants

We are at the point in time where people are working longer and the next generation is entering the workforce. In just a short time, you could be juggling four different generations in your workplace. But how do you cater your employee benefits to each? 

Let’s be clear on one thing, you can’t legally offer different benefits to different workers without the risk of discrimination. However, thinking more strategically about the life stage and demographics — or generation — of your workers can help you personalize your benefits offering. 

There are always the standard benefits that employees expect, but providing an assortment of options or a few unique ones can personalize the experience and make employees feel more valued. From oldest to youngest, here are the employee benefits that each generation values most.

Employee Benefits Boomers Want

Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. Much of this generation is retired or nearing retirement so they don’t make up a huge percentage of the workforce. But some boomers are continuing to work well into their sixties. 

Employee benefits that Boomers want:

  • Retirement and healthcare benefits — including medical, dental, and vision care
  • Other types of wellness benefits such as gym memberships or discounts on health services (e.g. chiropractic care)

It might be obvious that this generation is focused almost entirely on retirement and healthcare benefits. According to a study by MetLife, over 90% of Boomers want their employers to provide health insurance — including medical, dental, and vision. 

But some Boomers might not be full-time employees. So if it’s not health insurance, companies employing more of this generation of workers should offer some sort of wellness benefits like discounts on gym memberships or health services. 

Employee Benefits Gen X Want

Gen Xers were born between 1965 and 1980. With how much experience they have, they’re the backbone of the workforce right now. Much of this generation is also in a tough spot financially. Gen X may have paid off their student loans but are paying for their children’s education or taking care of their parents — or both. 

Employee benefits Gen X want: 

  • Retirement planning
  • Caretaker benefits
  • Work-life balance 
  • More vacation time or a sabbatical

Because of all their responsibilities, retirement planning, caretaker benefits, or other ways that improve work-life balance are ideal for Generation X. This generation has also been working for a while, so providing more time off or a sabbatical could give them the break they’re looking for.

Employee Benefits Millennials Want

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1995, and if they don’t make up the majority of your workforce now — they soon will. 

Just a few years ago, Millennials prioritized paid vacation and overtime over other benefits like health insurance. But as the youngest of the Millennials turn 26 this year, they’ll no longer be covered on their parent’s health care plans and health insurance will become more valuable to them. 

Though they’re still younger in age and healthcare may not be the most used benefit to them for several more years, it’s worth watching this group. Some studies indicate that Millennials don’t take advantage of preventative care as they should and will be less healthy as they age compared to Generation X.

Employee benefits Millennials want: 

  • Student loan repayment assistance
  • Flexible working schedules
  • Financial advice
  • Parental leave
  • Career advancement opportunities

Millennials are growing their families, paying student loans, and buying homes. In fact, over 14 million Millennials have student loan debt — more than any other generation. Offering student loan repayment assistance, flexible working schedules, financial advice, and parental leave could help them juggle their growing families and busy lives. 

Another crucial job factor for Millennials is their desire to grow their careers. Now that this generation is becoming experienced workers, they’re looking for the next step. A report by Gallup found 87% of Millennials said job development was important to them. So in addition to traditional benefits, companies that support career and skills development will have an easier time attracting and retaining Millennials. 

Employee Benefits Generation Z Want

Generation Z is still young — they were born from 1996 to 2012. But the oldest of Gen Z is finally entering the workforce. 

Unfortunately, the pandemic has been eye-opening for this generation. Some of them had just gotten jobs when COVID-19 hit and were potentially furloughed or let go. So job security and traditional benefits have taken on a new meaning for Generation Z and will be just as valuable to them as other generations. 

Employee benefits Gen Z wants: 

  • Traditional benefits such as healthcare insurance and retirement planning
  • Flexible working schedules and work styles 
  • Mental health benefits 
  • Benefits that support diversity, equity, and inclusion

Though benefits like retirement planning won’t be a requirement for Generation Z just yet, financial advice and tuition assistance certainly will. And like their Millennial counterparts, Generation Z will also expect flexibility in their work schedules and work styles. After all, they are the most tech-savvy generation. 

This generation is also the most progressive generation which can impact the employer benefits for Gen Z. How a company supports mental health and diversity, equity, and inclusion is critical to Generation Z. They will expect companies to be more involved in these issues, outside of the benefits they provide. 

How to Personalize Benefits for Every Generation 

Every employee, regardless of their demographics, wants traditional benefits like time off, healthcare insurance, and retirement planning. But how businesses prioritize additional benefits beyond these will vary. Thinking about your employees’ life stage and generation can be insightful as you plan and select your benefits offering. 

To learn more about how you can evaluate your benefits and get feedback from your employees to make the best selections for them, download our guide below. You’ll also learn about cost-saving strategies and low-cost perks. 

Download Our eGuide: Build Better Benefits

Download this guide to learn about how you can provide better benefits for your employees while managing costs.

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