Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

Can your organization engage millennials with employee benefits?

employee benefitsIt’s no secret that employee benefits play a crucial role in the employee engagement strategies used by just about every great employer. If you’re looking to recruit top talent, offering them great benefits makes for a promising way to win people over. If you’ve already got talented employees working for you, benefits can keep them happy for the long haul. Benefits are always an important part of the puzzle.

There’s just one problem – it’s really difficult for your benefits offerings to make any difference if your employees don’t know or care about them. And increasingly, we’re seeing that that’s the case for companies that hire a lot of younger employees.

Is this a problem for your organization? And if so, what are you planning to do about it?

Identifying the problem
There’s a great deal of evidence that benefits are not effective as a strategy for recruiting or engagement, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. The news source drew upon Employee Benefit Research Institute data which confirmed this.

EBRI found that millennials are far less likely than other candidates to find benefits important when choosing a job. In addition, they’re far more likely to say they don’t know about what benefits their employers offer, or to ignore the health insurance options available to them. While benefits are huge among the older crowd, with millennials, they’re lacking.

Working harder on engagement
There’s no sense in abandoning benefits altogether, though. They’re hugely important with other demographics, after all. Rather, the better strategy is to work harder at engaging with younger employees.

Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s health research and education program, told SHRM that it might be time to devise some new strategies.

“Millennials are the largest age group to emerge since the baby boom generation, and employers will have to make adjustments to how they engage them,” Fronstin said. “Employers that have depended on employee benefits as a primary tool to recruit and retain workers may need to rethink the role that employee benefits play with millennials.”

Fronstin’s data shows that 72 percent of millennials are “often confused” by health care options, and they also have the lowest retirement savings rate of any demographic, just 7.5 percent. More has to be done to change their engagement level.

Improving corporate messaging
Like most problems in HR today, the trouble with millennials and their engagement with benefits is one that can be addressed through better communication. Jennifer Benz, founder and CEO at Benz Communications in San Francisco, told SHRM that a stronger emphasis on corporate messaging is essential.

“The key to reaching millennials is twofold,” Benz said. “Make the benefits relevant and meaningful to them and communicate frequently.”

Fortunately, there is no shortage of employee communication channels available in today’s HR tech world. There are plenty of ways to keep in touch with the workforce, including but not limited to corporate intranets and newsletters. There’s no reason to leave your employees – millennial or otherwise – in the dark any longer

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