Millennials in the workplace will impact business and benefits

By Brady Cass, Vice President of Sales, Regence BlueShield
December 04, 2014

Today’s workplaces are dominated by Baby Boomers; however, studies show that Millennials (born 1976-2000) will make up nearly half of the workforce by 2020. These groups have strikingly different values regarding the workplace and what they expect from benefits packages. Employers can prepare for this transition by understanding how the demographics, lifestyles and preferences of these workers could change their corporate culture as well as their ideal benefit mix.

Changing values require culture shift

Millennials are more ethnically and racially diverse, extremely tech-savvy, and will be the most highly educated generation in our history.

Raised in a generation accustomed to convenience, twenty-somethings have high expectations for their purchasing experiences – whether for retail products or health benefits.

This expectation is likely to have an impact on preference and satisfaction with regard to health benefits. To address this issue, as well as other workforce trends, Regence conducted research among a variety of C-suite executives and published the findings in a thought-provoking white paper: Developing A Strategic Benefits Approach That Matches The Dynamic Needs Of Every Employer.

One valuable takeaway suggests that retention of younger employees can be increased by strategically implementing benefits packages with the features they most value. According to another study, work-life balance, benefits, sense of purpose and workplace support are the most important factors in the workplace for Millennials – even more than salary.

New benefits strategy for a changing workforce
Carefully consider these three defining factors when choosing the right benefit mix: Millennials are more tech-savvy, value flexibility and have greater expectations around purchasing decisions. For these reasons, health savings accounts and private exchange solutions may be the perfect fit for twenty-somethings because they prefer more self-directed decisions about benefits and care, and reward employees with greater flexibility and more choices.

Given that Millennials tend to be more transient in the workforce, innovative benefit packages are equally important to earn extra marks with younger workers and aid in retention. This requires thinking beyond health insurance and considering value-added “extras” like wellness programs, telemedicine and voluntary benefit plans.

Whether you choose to label this new generation of workers as a distinct challenge or a new opportunity, preparing for this inevitable change to workforce demographics is vital to your business. For more strategy recommendations, read the entire whitepaper developed by Regence in cooperation with Pinpoint Research.