Any company with a workforce that spans generations presents an obstacle for benefit professionals. These professionals want to provide a set of health and voluntary insurance offerings, but each age group has different wants and needs.
Staff in their early to mid-20s don’t have a firm understanding of benefits. They are overwhelmed with student loans and other financial struggles. Employees in their lates 20s to mid-30s typically want savings options. They are looking to maximize their earnings potential and to purchase insurance that meets their needs. They are also having financial difficulties, but they are more interested in 401(k)s and life insurance than people in their early to mid-20s.
People in their late 30s to mid-40s are looking for retirement vehicles and ways to protect their income. They also have an interest in short- and long-term disability. Employees in their late 40s to late 50s are interested in disability as well. They are also looking for other products that will protect their families and their income. People in their mid-60s are very focused on retirement. They are looking to max out their 401(k)s and minimize their healthcare exposure. They are also interested in health savings accounts.
All of these differences can seem a little overwhelming. Here are a few tips for employers and advisers who want to provide a solid benefit plan to today’s diverse workforce.
1) Create a series of options of products and plans that employees can choose from.
In today’s world, a “one size fits all” approach isn’t going to work. The key is to have a variety of product types, such as dental, medical, accident, critical illness and disability coverage. It is also important to have product variation within those product types. Employees’ needs don’t only differ by age, but also by health and by risk tolerance. In order to cater to employees’ wide variety of needs, employers need to offer a spectrum of plans that employees can choose from.
2) Help employees make the connection between health and financial wellness.
Employers need to help employees realize that health impacts financial stability. To help employees understand the connection between health and financial wellness, educators should first educate employees on their financial security. Employees should be kept aware of how they rank with their peers and where the areas for improvement lie. After employees are given this information, employers and advisers can make recommendations to help employees achieve a greater level of security. This can include disability insurance, renters insurance, greater participation in a 401(k), and an increase in the amount of emergency cash that employees have on hand.
3) Realize the importance of decision-support tools and digital enrollment platforms.
A number of employees of all ages conduct the majority of their business online these days. The ACA reporting requirements (1094/1095) are almost impossible to complete using a paper enrollment process. Employers will need an online solution for tracking and reporting purposes. If enrollments are captured digitally, this will save HR a lot of time and effort. Because file feeds are programmed to report to the carriers directly, HR will not have to fax in paper forms. An online enrollment system also allow for direct link-outs to cost management and transparency tools, as well as provider directories.
Large companies are bound to have workforces that span across a number of generations. It may seem difficult to bridge the generation gap, but with the implementation of some new policies and ideas, it certainly is possible.