The adoption of new technology by generation Y has led many employers, including BP, to update their benefits and hiring programmes, primarily by moving these online.
Key traits exhibited by generation Y include: flexibility, a willingness to relocate, a strong desire to achieve, pushiness and ambition.
Speaking in a session titled ‘Are your generation Y employees disenfranchised? Which elements of traditional employee engagement should you abandon and what should you adopt to motivate young mobile talent?’ Martin Self, flexible benefits project director at BP, described how the company has responded to the importance of engaging staff with benefits early on in their career. “If you engage them early, you have them hooked,” he said.
In order to provide an element of choice and shift some responsibility around benefits decision making on to staff, BP introduced a flexible benefits scheme for 10,000 UK employees (excluding 5,000 retail staff) in April 2010. It felt that moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach would enable it to cater to its diverse population.
“Flex is still a mystery for the majority of younger employees,” said Self. “However, choice is well received. Our research does show that traditional benefits are important for generation Y.”
He added that offering flex online enables the organisation to drive employees to their benefits. For example, more than 50% of staff aged under 25 have gone into the pensions website and opted to change contributions. If employees opt out of the pension scheme, they are re-enrolled at every flex enrolment.
“It is about trying to drive them to the website so they can review their benefits once a year,” said Self.
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