Nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of employers recognize they’ll need to offer a wider variety of benefits options to meet the expectations of the different generations in their workforces, according to a new report by LIMRA and EY.
In particular, the survey, which polled more than 800 U.S. employers and more than 1,800 employees, found demand for non-medical benefits, such as paid family medical leave, emergency savings and financial wellness programs, will increase significantly.
“Since the pandemic, employers have faced a dramatically different workforce dynamic with a sustained increase in hybrid and remote workers, which is reshaping expectations,” said Patrick Leary, corporate vice-president and head of LIMRA workplace benefits research, in a press release. “In this highly competitive job market, benefits remain a powerful tool to attract and retain talent. Employers recognize that expanded benefits are key to meeting employees’ post-COVID-19 needs and expectations.”
One of the biggest challenges for employers is that employees lack an awareness and understanding of the benefits they offer, according to the report, which noted employers will need to customize communications to effectively engage and educate employees of different generations, given the diverse needs of today’s workforce.
Most employees — around 90 per cent across all generations — said they feel guidance can be provided at least somewhat successfully through digital channels. However, younger generations expressed the highest interest in using mobile apps for benefits information and tasks — 57 per cent of generation Z, 48 per cent of millennials and 44 per cent of generation X said they prefer to access their benefits information via mobile apps, compared to 23 per cent of baby boomers.
The report also found employers are looking for their benefits partners to lead on technology, as two-thirds — 73 per cent of large employers, 70 per cent of midsize employers and 67 per cent of small employers — of respondents said they’ll have to rely more heavily on third-party technology in five years.
As well, nearly half of all employers said they’d switch to a different benefits provider if their current provider wasn’t integrated into their benefits technology platform. In addition, 59 per cent of employers said they’d select carriers based on their ability to connect with their benefits technology platform, compared with 41 per cent that said they’d select the carriers with the best value product.