Provided by: Stephanie San Antonio, President & Benefits Specialist for SSA Insurance Services
With unemployment continuing to decline since 2010, employers are reviewing their benefits packages to ensure that they are staying competitive, so they don’t lose their best workers to their competitors. As the workplace becomes more diverse, employers face the challenge of both accommodating for multiple generations, who are now working side by side, and a more culturally diverse workforce in California as the number of foreign-born workers increases. It’s important to recognize that group benefits are not a one-size-fits-all package and that millennials have different needs and wants than the Baby Boomers who are retiring later as to maximize their Social Security benefits.
Below are some of the ways employers have been redesigning their benefits to help keep their diverse workforce happy.
- Generation Y (Millennials)
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2030 millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) are expected to make up 75% of the workforce. Since millennials tend to be healthier in comparison to their Baby Boomer and Gen X peers, they often are satisfied with lower cost high deductible health plans (HDHP’s). Employers who offer HDHP’s are noticing that millennials are also finding compatible Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s) attractive as they allow them to only spend what they need on the benefits they want while providing a tax advantaged savings account for the money that does not get spent on medical services. And since millennials hold large student loan debts, another way to appeal to this younger population is to add a Student Loan Repayment program to your benefits package. Interestingly, companies across all industries are adding this life-changing perk to attract and retain their millennial workers. Finding a work-life balance is also one of the most important things employees look for nowadays since the average work week has increased from 40 to 47 hours. Younger employees are looking for companies with a stimulating company culture with social engagement, wellness programs that promote healthy behaviors and teambuilding, and other perks like on-site yoga classes or gym membership subsidies/ reimbursements.
- Generation X & Baby Boomers
These generations (born from 1946- 1980) are usually at the stage where they are most concerned with supporting their families and saving for retirement. This demographic values benefits that offer them income protection and assistance with their retirement objectives. They specifically value employer match or defined contribution retirement plans, traditional 401k’s, or other benefits that offer them financial stability. Financial wellness programs have been gaining popularity, and employers are now looking to their financial advisors to host educational workshops, either annually to educate employees on the types of retirement plans the company offers, or periodically throughout the year to offer retirement advice. Baby Boomers and Gen X’s also value Long and Short-Term Disability benefits, Long-Term Care insurance, Accident insurance, Cancer insurance, Hospital insurance, and Critical illness insurance to help financially with unexpected life events. These plans are usually more affordable and much easier to obtain through a group plan and provide supplemental coverage over and above the medical and state disability insurance benefits. Group life insurance is often offered as part of a comprehensive employee benefit package and is subsidized by the employer up to a certain face value. Voluntary Term Life insurance gives employees the option to purchase additional life insurance for themselves, their spouse, and kids over and above that employer-sponsored amount. Enrollment is typically very high on these plans because it’s easier to obtain life insurance through a group plan and in most cases the cost is far less than what the members would pay for a similar amount of individual protection. Finally, you can ask your broker if your life insurance policy comes with access to a Will and Legal Document Center, an online portal where employees can create important documents, estate planning tools, and access legal resources.
- Cultural Diversity
If part of your workforce lives in Mexico or is primarily Spanish-speaking, it’s important that your group benefits information is also available and communicated in Spanish. Many Spanish speaking individuals forego enrolling onto group benefits and instead choosing to be uninsured and paying as they use medical services simply due to a lack of understanding of the benefits available. Your broker can help by making all benefits materials and enrollment forms accessible in Spanish, and even coordinating a Spanish-speaking enroller to present the benefits options at your Open Enrollment meeting. You may also consider adding a cross-border group medical and/or dental plan to your benefits package if a significant portion of your staff lives in Mexico. Carriers like MediExcel and SIMNSA are quickly gaining in popularity and other carriers like Health Net are following suit with offering cross-border plans to California customers. These plans provide coverage in Mexico, protection from emergencies that happen in the US, are more affordable than US medical plans, and are still ACA compliant.
Remember that not everyone values the same perks, so if your workforce is diverse it’s important to survey your employees to get a better understanding of what is important to each person. Look to your broker for how best to support your shifting demographic and how to make sure your benefits package remains attractive to both your existing employees and the talent you are looking to hire.
Since 2013 SSA Insurance Services has been helping organizations of all sizes to promote and protect the health and wellness of their most important asset: their employees. Stephanie San Antonio and her team do this by working with employers to design, implement, and maintain a company culture that is in line with their mission and values, and building a comprehensive benefit package that attracts and retains their top talent. Because their team believes in putting health first, all SSA clients receive a complimentary wellness program tailored specifically to their business. Call SSA at (760) 203-4299 for more information on how they help design a benefit program and company culture that work hand in hand to create an environment where people are inspired to stay healthy and work hard to help their company reach success