Is Your Benefits Program Ready for Generation Z?
Currently under the age of 25, Gen Z workers typically represent recent college graduates or those juggling college and a job. Generational profiles indicate that millennials and Gen Z-ers share many similar characteristics; however, there are some key differences between them.
For example, Gen Z-ers are said to be more tech-centric than millennials, and they value privacy and cultural diversity more. Being raised in an uncertain era (e.g., post-9-11 or the Great Depression), they are apt to be more pragmatic, preferring to make sensible career choices that include benefits they can relate to.
Benefits that hit home
Financial assistance: Studies show that the majority of Americans are stressed out about money, and Gen Z is no exception. Nearly half (46 percent) of Gen Z workers cite student loan debt as their greatest financial concern, according to Randstad estimates. Further, CNBC states that eight in 10 workers with student loans would prefer to work for a company that helps them repay their student loan debt.
Providing tuition assistance and student loan repayment can give employers a leg up on the competition, especially in a tough hiring market. But if you cannot afford to pay employees' education costs or student loans, there are other ways to help them improve their finances, such as:
- Financial counseling so they can learn about debt consolidation and the importance of having an emergency savings account.
- Online tools and services to review loan-repayment options.
- A casual dress code to keep clothing costs down.
- Commuting or transportation assistance.
- Telecommuting opportunities.
Mobile-friendly apps and technology: The most tech-savvy of all the generations, Gen Z-ers rely on their mobile device and computer applications to solve many of the issues they encounter in their daily lives. Being highly independent as well, they desire the freedom to access information on their own, at their own pace — including benefits-related information. As a result, some employers are offering:
- Telemedicine programs, which provide access to health care providers by phone or video chat, making it easier to get prescriptions refilled and obtain help for minor illnesses.
- Online wellness solutions that allow users to track health activities and retrieve content on managing health conditions.
- Online engagement platforms that come with survey tools, which can be used to measure and increase engagement.
- Self-service portals through which employees can enroll and make changes to their benefits.
A fresh approach
The realistic yet forward-thinking perspective of Gen Z demands a different approach to employee benefits, one that:
- Emphasizes the value of the benefits being offered.
- Applies a direct approach when communicating about benefits.
- Leverages technology to a great extent.
- Understands the importance of adapting to generational change.