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Health and Retirement Remain Top Benefits for Boomers to Gen Z

You’ve no doubt seen dozens of articles claiming to find clear distinctions between baby boomers, millennials, Generation X and Generation Z when it comes to traits like family values, work expectations and buying habits. With all these differences, you could easily assume each group has drastically different desires when it comes to their benefits packages – but you might be surprised by the truth!

Studies show the differences between generations in regard to their work-related benefits aren’t as great as one might think. The differences that do exist are primarily a function of each group’s age and relative position in their career journey, according to a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Business and Psychology.

Retirement is on everyone’s mind

It’s not surprising that boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are thinking about retirement as the remaining years of their work life are just around the corner. Gen Z (born after 1995) is also concerned with retirement planning, but this concern marks a distinct departure from the norm, as these benefits aren’t usually an object of focus for a group so early into their careers.

One common misconception about the younger generation’s attitude toward benefits packages is the belief that they’re most attracted to modern perks like working remotely, casual dress codes and public transportation assistance. While these are certainly something an employer can consider, health care still ranks highest among their list of desired benefits. Their desires aren’t wholly traditional, as studies also cite modern health care options, like telemedicine, as a part of their expectation set.

An attitude of lifelong learning

One shift in attitudes employers should recognize is the increasing importance of professional development in younger generations. The days when an entire training program meant simply pairing a younger employee with an older counterpart until he or she figured it out are well behind us. Gen Z and millennial employees expect a structured program of learning and development to help set their careers on a solid footing.

A learning management system like Paycom Learning allows an employer to easily and consistently train their workforce while engaging them with ongoing development – all through easy-to-use tech.

An additional benefit of providing a robust, tech-savvy learning program is that it communicates an organizational commitment to both employee development and modern HR strategies, which in turn, helps encourage buy-in from the employees.

Of course, this doesn’t mean modern employers should look past traditional mentor/mentee relationships, as personal connections are a proven and effective way to transmit the values and culture of an organization. But encouraging mentoring relationships as part of a structured development program will demonstrate your organization’s commitment to employee growth.

The value in benefits: making employees feel valued

One thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of benefits in attracting new recruits and retaining existing employees. Perks like, on-site fitness facilities and catered meals can be a big draw for new talent. While the mix of benefits in the package may change from time to time, the main attractions – namely, retirement planning and health insurance – will remain staple items in the benefits basket.

A competitive and well-structured benefits menu can meet employees wherever they are in life. Obviously, different generations are going to put their benefits eggs in different baskets, but overall, generational benefit goals don’t vary much.

If you suspect your benefits package is outdated or not entirely relevant to your workforce, it may be time to survey employees to see which benefits they want most. This is an effective way to ensure you offer a benefits package that attracts and retains the best staff possible. A periodic review is also a great way to keep your offerings from getting stale.

How are the benefits in your organization? Do they align with your corporate strategies and hiring goals? Now is a great time to revisit what you’re offering and get ready for the next generation of employees.