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Finding the Right Benefits for Multigenerational Workforces

Quick look: As competition to recruit and retain top talent increases, brokers can help SMB employers stand out. Benefits have taken on new significance in this post-pandemic landscape. But one employee’s “must-have” may be negligible to another. Here’s how brokers — with support from a PEO — can help SMBs design dynamic benefit packages for a multigenerational workforce.

As unemployment drops across the nation, competition for top candidates is increasing. In this “buyer’s marketplace,” employers must work harder to stand out to job seekers who may be evaluating several options during their search.

Increased competition for candidates can be especially perilous for small- and medium-sized business (SMB) employers, who may lack the resources to offer the highest salary. However, today’s candidates are evaluating more than just pay. They’re looking at the full compensation package — including whether perks and benefits align with their lifestyles.

Benefits have always been important but are even more crucial in the post-pandemic employment landscape. According to MetLife’s annual Employee Benefit Trends Study (EBTS), 42% of employees adapt to and rebound from adversity better when their company benefits meet their needs.

But not all benefits are equal in the eyes of employees. According to SHRM, six benefits stand out above all others. Below are the percentages of respondents ranking this benefit as “extremely or very important”.

  • Healthcare – 90%
  • Flexible work – 83%
  • Leave – 83%
  • Family-friendly benefits – 76%
  • Wellness – 62%
  • Retirement – 55%

As SMBs teams grow, the workplace make-up is destined to change. Failure to align benefits with staff needs puts your clients at risk of losing valuable existing employees and may cause fresh talent to choose employers with more relevant benefit packages.

Tailored benefit packages

What’s important to one set of employees may be less attractive to others. Boomers, Gen Xers, Gen Z, and those just entering the workforce have different priorities and want their employment benefits to rise to their expectations.

Top priorities for boomers include physical health and ancillary medical coverages, such as vision. As retirement looms on the horizon, boomers are also interested in financial planning services to smooth their transition.

Younger workers recognize the value of time spent away from work, so mental wellbeing and paid time off (PTO) benefits are extremely important. Also, as these employees put school and student debt further in the rearview mirror and head toward a stable, long-term financial future, they seek benefits like financial planning, legal services, and student debt assistance.

SMB employers should develop dynamic benefit packages with offerings for workers with different priorities. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to benefits is destined to fall flat with today’s workforce. 

5 ways brokers can help SMBs

Encourage clients and prospects to pay more attention to their benefit packages. In today’s competitive market, benefits will play a stronger role as employees decide which company to sign with. Here are some ways brokers can help SMB leaders strengthen their approach.

1. Revisit existing benefit packages with your clients

If your clients have not reviewed company benefits in the last three to five years, now’s the time to take a fresh look. COVID-19 accelerated trends in employee expectations, so dated benefit packages may be further behind than expected.

2. Assist in administering staff surveys

Employees are generally happy to let employers know which benefits they value. However, many workers may not be aware of the types of creative benefits offered today. Help SMB leadership craft a survey asking staff to rank the types of benefits they find most interesting. Use their preferences as your guide to develop tailored benefit packages.

3. Help SMB leadership prioritize benefits

Company leadership may struggle to identify which updates are easiest and most cost-effective to implement. Help your clients evaluate which new benefits can be delivered immediately and which should be activated at a future point. 

4. Consult with a PEO for deeper insight into industry trends

The HR experts at a professional employer organization (PEO) specialize in developing tailored benefit packages for SMBs. By keeping an eye on trending perks, new insurance coverages, and industry-specific employee expectations, they can provide a valuable perspective on which benefits will resonate.

5. Provide multiple communications channels for employees

Generational preferences also influence how team members will want to contact you. Younger workers may want to connect via email, text message, or social media. Older workers often prefer a one-to-one connection by phone or via email. If you haven’t done so already, provide multiple methods for employees to contact you via the method most convenient for them. 

PEO partnership may be the solution

Keeping up with demands for HR management and cutting-edge benefits may be impossible for many SMB employers, especially those in highly competitive industries like technology, fintech, business services, and healthcare. Partnering with a PEO can reduce the strain on internal HR teams while providing access to support from experienced human resource specialists and Fortune-500-level benefits. Offloading HR management duties to experts at a PEO frees up company leadership to focus on revenue-generating tasks while simultaneously paying greater attention to employees’ needs.

Help clients keep up with an evolving workplace

As workers delay retirement and new staff enter the workforce, multigenerational workplaces are here to stay. Encourage your clients to take a closer look at whether their benefits truly align with the needs of their staff. If not, they face the very real risk of losing great talent to competitors. Whether you help clients craft benefit packages on your own or encourage partnering with a PEO, your SMB clients should aim to deliver benefits tailored to the needs and expectations of their staff — now and in the future.

Contact a broker success manager to learn how partnering with ExtensisHR helps brokers and SMBs thrive.

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