Employers looking to attract engage and retain Generation Y workers need to do their homework to see what makes this demographic group tick — their preferences and communication styles, especially when it comes to benefits.
According to a new white paper from Colonial Life, HR/benefits professionals can craft benefits effective programs by understanding several Gen Y traits:
* They’re poor. Only 58% pay their bills on time, 43% have high credit card debt and 70% aren't building a cash cushion for emergencies, Colonial Life reports.
* They have wanderlust. The average 26-year-old has already had seven jobs.
* They want insurance, but don’t buy it. Sixty percent of Gen Y workers list benefits as the second most important aspect of job satisfaction. However, a recent survey by Harris Interactive on behalf of Colonial Life showed Gen Y is the least likely working group to take advantage of workplace insurance, from major medical plans to voluntary coverage such as life, disability and accident insurance.
* They’re not always blogging. The workplace is the number one source for benefits information, and Gen Y seems to prefer more personal communication. Despite their "constantly wired" reputation, Gen Y employees don't use online resources such as forums or blogs any more than other workers do. And they're significantly more likely than other workers to turn to a family member or friend for information.
So, how do employers effectively target their young and eager — yet financially unstable and underinsured — employees? Through better communication, says Stephen Bygott, director of marketing programs and research at Colonial Life. "Benefits communication emerged in the research as a clear opportunity for employers to more strongly engage Gen Y workers," he says. "These workers give employers low marks for the effectiveness of their benefits communication, and Gen Y women in particular are much more likely to say the communication they receive about their benefits is not at all informative, including cost, what's covered and what they need."
The white paper also outlines numerous tactics and tools employers can use to communicate benefits more effectively with Gen Y workers, including implementing one-to-one counseling, using appropriate technology for the message, employing multiple communication methods and making content more interactive.
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