Gen Y demands new workplace benefits strategies

Gen Y demands new workplace benefits strategies

Younger workers have a different set of workplace wants and needs than their elders. How is your veterinary practice responding to the challenge?
Sep 19, 2011
By staff

Look around your veterinary practice. Are any of your employees younger than 30? If so, then you may have a challenge on your hands.

That’s because Generation Y has different needs, expectations and preferences than previous generations, a new study reports. Therefore, employers should take a different approach when it comes to designing and communicating benefits packages for these young workers. Otherwise, you risk losing your competitive edge in the veterinary world.

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company has used proprietary and industry research to outline what employers should know about Gen Y to develop effective employee benefits programs. Here’s what the company found:

> Gen Y tends to be less financially stable than other generations. Only 58 percent pay their bills on time, 43 percent have high credit card debt, and 70 percent aren’t building a cash cushion for emergencies. They also tend to change jobs frequently—the average 26-year-old has already had seven jobs.

> Gen Y puts great value on a strong benefits package yet is woefully underinsured. Sixty percent of Gen Y workers list benefits as the second-most-important aspect of job satisfaction. However, a recent survey by Harris Interactive on behalf of Colonial Life showed Gen Y is the least likely working group to take advantage of workplace insurance, from major medical plans to voluntary coverage such as life, disability, and accident insurance.

> The workplace is the number one source for benefits information, but Gen Y seems to prefer more personal communication. Despite their wired reputation, Gen Y employees don’t use online resources such as forums or blogs any more than other workers do. And they’re significantly more likely than other workers to turn to a family member or friend for information.

Benefits communication emerged in the research as an opportunity for employers to more strongly engage Gen Y workers. These workers give employers low marks for the effectiveness of their benefits communication, and Gen Y women in particular are much more likely to say the communication they receive about their benefits is not at all informative, including cost, what’s covered, and what they need. Tactics and tools employers can use to communicate about benefits more effectively with Gen Y workers include:

> Implementing one-to-one counseling
> Using appropriate technology for the message
> Employing multiple communication methods
> Making content more interactive

Have you talked to your team members lately about exactly what benefits they’ve been offered? If not, what are you waiting for?