Benefits do not necessarily require generational segmentation


Employee Benefits Live 2015: Martha How, partner at Aon Employee Benefits, warned against segmenting benefits for employees based on sweeping assumptions about generational attitudes.  

Speaking at Employee Benefits Live 2015 in the session entitled ‘Is age just a number?’, How presented the results of several pieces of research that examined employee engagement with staff benefits across generation Z (under 25 years old), generation Y (under 35), generation X (35-54 years old), and the so-called baby boomer generation (aged over 54).

The findings suggest that attitudes towards core benefits are largely consistent across generations, although there is some variance in the manner in which staff of different generations want employers to communicate benefits to them.

How (pictured) noted that, while age is one factor to consider, staff of different age groups have more in common when it comes to benefits than they do differences.

She added that differences between generational attitudes towards non-core benefits often varied between organisations and sectors, further complicating a generational segmentation approach.

How suggested that it may be more worthwhile for organisations to research their own workforce when looking at benefits segmentation, rather than following market norms.

Chris Carter, head of reward at software and analytics firm SAS, speaking alongside How at the conference session, noted that there are some indications of varying levels of engagement with staff benefits according to generation within SAS.

To ensure that staff can access the benefits provision that is most relevant to them throughout the changing situations experienced over their working lives, SAS has introduced more flexibility into its benefits package. For example, employees can alter the level of income protection they receive according to their current needs and priorities.

Carter believes that communication is a key factor in ensuring that an employee benefits programme remains relevant for staff. The organisation runs surveys to gather employee feedback and utilises a range of communication methods, including videos, posters and roadshows.

Feedback from pension seminars revealed that there was a disconnect between the amount employees were saving for retirement and the amount that they wanted to save. To help bridge this gap, SAS is further developing its financial education offering.

The organisation aims to enhance its benefits programme in order to become a destination employer. Positioned within an industry that is likely to face a growing skills shortage, an attractive benefits package aims to help SAS recruit and retain top talent.