Benefits do not suit multi-generations

The majority (85%) of respondents do not feel their current benefits package offers the flexibility required to suit their needs, according to research by Barclays Corporate and Employer Solutions (C&ES).

The Talking about my generation: exploring the benefits engagement challenge report, which surveyed 1,200 UK employees, was commissioned by Barclays C&ES and carried out by Dr Paul Redmond, director of employability and educational opportunities at Liverpool University.

The report aims to provide HR and senior reward managers with a new way of thinking about how to use employee benefits packages to more effectively engage the different generations in today’s workforce.

According to the report, the new multi-generational workforce comprises five cohorts: Maturists (born pre-1945), Baby Boomers (born between 1945 and 1960), Generation X (between 1961 and 1980), Generation Y (between 1981 and 1995) and Generation Z (born after 1995).

The report surveyed respondents from Generation X, Y and the Baby Boomers.

Although the majority (80%) of employees across all three generations expect their employer to provide a comprehensive benefits package, relatively few respondents had a clear sense of the type of benefits package that would best suit their future needs.

Competitive pay and financial rewards were found to be the leading requirement in any benefits package. Pay is marginally more important to Generation X than it is for the other two groups of employees.

Pensions were of crucial importance for the majority of those surveyed, while Generation X also valued flexible-working arrangements and access to career development opportunities, and Baby Boomers valued healthcare and ongoing career development.

The report also found that 53% of Baby Boomers are prioritising saving for retirement, while 41% of Generation X is focused on paying off their mortgage and 30% of Generation Y is focused on paying off unsecured debt.

Katharine Photiou (pictured), director at Barclays Corporate and Employer Solutions, said: “The rise of the multi-generational workforce presents numerous challenges to today’s HR professionals when devising benefits packages to engage and attract employees.

“For organisations, understanding these generational differences is a key business imperative, particularly when devising and implementing organisational engagement strategies. In a post-recession workplace, where employee loyalty is undergoing a fundamental shift, what do employers need to do to ensure that they are meeting the needs of all their employees, at every stage of their lives?

“In this report, we explore the key characteristics of three of the five generations that make up the majority of today’s workplace and investigate whether traditional approaches to employee benefits are fit for purpose.

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“Using in-depth research among the three generational cohorts and focus groups conducted with a number of high-profile UK organisations, we pose the pertinent questions facing HR professionals now: How can organisations implement employee benefits packages that meet the differing needs of the generations in today’s workforce? And what is the cost of getting it wrong?”

Dr Paul Redmond and Katharine Photiou will be speaking at Employee Benefits Live on 25 September.