In this week's blog: If you want to attract and retain staff, it is important that the benefits you offer are not “one size fits all” …But rather, that you provide younger workers, mid-career staff and older employees each with the benefits that suit them best.
In my last blog, I shared with you two examples of how different benefits might appeal to different generations.
Younger staff members, for example, might be keen on a Give As You Earn scheme, which allows them to donate to charity directly from their gross income. They tend to put a high premium on social activism.
Older staff, on the other hand, might prefer getting access to GP services without leaving the office, to suit their less flexible working patterns.
If you want to attract and retain staff, it is important that the benefits you offer are not “one size fits all”….
…But rather, that you provide younger workers, mid-career staff and older employees each with the benefits that suit them best.
But how can you tell what each group really wants?
Let's start with the most obvious employee benefit of all: Pensions.
Everyone wants – and is legally entitled to – an auto-enrolment (AE) contribution from their employer. But there are some minor differences.
Older workers are more likely to want help with retirement planning and information about what happens if they work beyond retirement age. Digital natives are – by definition - more likely to require online and mobile access to their pension details1, if you want them to engage with their pension, and value this benefit.
As we all know, younger workers are far less concerned with their pensions2 (because retirement still feels so far away to them), so beyond basic AE employee contributions, you might consider contributing to a Workplace Lifetime ISA instead.
This might prove more useful for them in the short-term, because they can use it for more immediate costs such as buying a home – and as a result, they might perceive it as a better benefit.
I would wager that older employees are most likely interested in the traditional insurance products: Health insurance and life insurance, along with cover for critical illness and income protection.
These products offer good value for people with families to take care of and who are ageing. And in some cases the cover may be extended to the employee's family members, too, saving them money.
The younger generation of employees is probably understandably less excited about life insurance, because they feel they still have their whole lives ahead of them.
So if you are looking to attract more millennials, you may choose to emphasise different benefits….
....(although holding life cover can help to minimise the costs of your first home purchase, so that's another reason for millennials to be interested in this benefit!).
Employee wellbeing and assistance programmes are reportedly more important to them3. These are particularly helpful for stress-related issues and support the expectation that I often see amongst millennials, that they work for a caring employer.
Other potentially popular benefits for your younger staff are cash plans that give them access to gym discounts4. You might also experiment with a related product, immediate support for sports injuries.
One thing that everybody likes is the ability to buy holiday – but I wager they want this benefit for very different reasons!
Younger people often buy extra holiday to give them a better work/life balance, because that is a key consideration for this generation5. But it seems to me that employees who are approaching pension age may use it as a way to take temporary 'mini-retirement' breaks or to wind down gradually into full retirement.
That means that while you might offer the same benefit, you might talk about it differently to the various segments.
I'm only scratching the surface here; there are plenty of other benefit options to consider, such as shopping discounts via an app for digital natives, holiday tour operator discounts for traditionalists, as well as flexible working policies.
Each might hold different appeal to different cohorts – For example, while your younger workers might like a parental leave policy, your older workers might be more likely to want policies around time off to train or study, or a sabbatical policy.
So, make sure you have the appropriate mix, both for your existing personnel and for those that you most wish to attract.
And don’t forget that getting your staff to value the benefits you offer is half the battle…
…And that means communicating about benefits in a way that is appropriate to each generation, as well.
Your digital natives will likely prefer short videos and social media, while your older staff will probably want comprehensive details in hard copy as well as online.
Want to make sure your benefits package holds appeal for all your employees – no matter their age?
Get in touch today, and we’ll talk through the best way to structure your benefits to attract and retain the best staff.