A Multi-Gen Workforce Needs Multi-Gen Benefits

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If you’re like most companies, you have employees from three, possibly four, generations working for you these days: Baby Boomers, GenX, Millennials, and even Plurals. Yet many companies still try to fit one benefit plan around people who are thinking of retiring, people who are caring for both their parents and their own families, people who are thinking about having families and buying houses, people who are saving up for future adventures, and people who are trying to pay off student loans. If you want to recruit the best people from four generations, you need a flexible benefit plan that serves people in various stages of life.

It’s not enough to have a committee who picks a plan for everyone, and it’s not enough to have Bring Your Dog to Work Day. You need planning. And you need options. You don’t have to be a giant company to provide options. Even if you only have ten employees, you can still offer three different plans.

Making Assumptions About Benefits

Millennials are flaky people who don’t want to own anything, right? Wrong. According to CNBC, Millennials are actually better with money than Boomers or GenX. They’re less focused on buying material things and more interested in saving. So don’t make assumptions about what kinds of benefits would attract and retain the talent you’re looking for.

Instead of just cooking up a benefit plan in the c-suite according to assumptions made by a small group of people, start by finding out what kinds of plans are possible. For example, could you have a variety of health care plan options? Could you include a provision to help employees pay off their student loans, as many employers are doing these days? Could you help them save for the future? Pay for child care? Talking to a caring and competent benefits broker could give you a better idea of the kinds of plans available on the market and how they can be mixed and matched to really serve your employee base.

Next, dialogue with your employees.  Take the time to educate them on the kinds of benefits available and their relative costs. Employees often can’t tell you what they need, because they don’t know what their options are.

Use surveys and team discussions to share with them the kinds of benefits you’re thinking about and find out what they’re interested in. It could be your total compensation budget could be reduced if only your benefit mix took some other pressing concerns off their plates.

It’s 2018 Y’all

The easiest way to do this is to ensure you’re using the most up-to-date technology to gather and analyze data about your team.  No company should still be in the paper-and-pencil business. Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) and Human Capital Management (HCM) can pull in enormous amounts of relevant data about your employees’ demographics and be used to help them weigh in on the benefits that interest them.

Once you understand what’s important to the employees you have and those you want to attract, revisit that competent and caring benefits broker—one who’s focused on creating the best package for your company rather than selling a certain product. The best benefits brokers aren’t looking for a fast close on an ill-fitting deal. They understand how important benefits are to everything you’re doing—your whole strategy. That’s the kind of company you need to work with.

Sometimes it seems overwhelming, there are so many changes regarding how we work, how we hire, how we compensate. You’re running your business. You don’t have time to really understand the landscape. But we do. That is our business. If you’d like help, call us.

We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267.