Now that millennials make up the largest portion of the American workforce, chances are good that almost every company has at least one member of this generation within its staff. According to Pew Research, 56 million millennials are earning a living, and the post-millennial generation – those born after 1996, known as Gen Z – are now entering the workforce, with 9 million currently at working age.
What does this mean for the typical HR professional? Now that older generations are retiring and younger professionals are entering the workforce, HR teams must make sure that they have crafted the right benefits package to support these employees. What’s more, it’s imperative that HR administrators are clear when it comes to enrollment, benefits administration and overall management.
This critical generational juncture provides an ideal opportunity for HR teams to re-evaluate their existing benefits package, and to add or subtract items to align offerings with workforce needs. This important review won’t just help support the existing staff, but can serve to attract young professional employment candidates as well.
An essential factor to keep in mind here, however, is that those within different age brackets will have a variety of needs. Just as workers that are part of the Baby Boomer generation or Generation X had specific focuses and benefits needs, requirements will differ when it comes to millennials and Gen Z. HR professionals will need to develop new engagement models to take into account the generational differences between baby boomers and millennials.
Managers accustomed to using certain practices to engage boomers will have to change their ways – and practices – if they hope to engage and retain the newest heavily scrutinized employee cohort, the millennials.
As Emily Bailey of OneDigital told HR Dive, these differences extend, particularly, to the ways in which employees engage with and consume details related to employee benefits.
“It really does cause us to take a step back and better assess how we’re putting information out there,” Bailey said. “[Younger generations] may not put as much value on certain benefits that the boomers and other generations that have been in the workforce for a while do.”
Top considerations: Appealing to Millennials and Gen Z
In this way, as HR teams work to review and improve benefits resources for young professionals, there are a few key essentials to keep in mind:
- A goal-oriented generation: As Stephanie Penner, senior partner at consultancy firm Mercer, told the Society for Human Resource Management, young workers tend to be more goal-focused, and appreciate opportunities for personal and professional growth. In this way, training programs, certification workshops and other career development programs will be advantageous.
- Financial support: Many young professionals are dealing with significant student loan debt – in fact, SHRM reports that 80 percent of employees would value a student loan repayment assistance program, but only 4 percent of businesses offer this benefit . Any efforts companies can make to help support new graduates and their financial situation – including financial planning guidance, or automatic deductions for loan repayment – will be a considerable boon for attracting and retaining young professionals. Decision-makers can consider partnering with an organization like GotZoom to provide this benefit.
- Digital consumers: A key thing to keep in mind regarding Millennials and Gen Z workers is that much of their life has revolved around the use of computers and advanced technology. In this way, young professionals expect to be able to utilize these resources at work. Providing an online employee portal for benefits enrollment and administrative management can help workers engage with benefits information and make use of the resources a company offers.