Gen Y workers, who entered the workforce during the recent recession, are just as susceptible to financial stress as employees with family and mortgage commitments. Two-thirds of college students graduated with a student load debt in 2008, and that 41% of credit cardholders from the ages of 18 to 29 made only the minimum required payment on a credit card in 2009. More recently, a Colonial Life white paper revealed that Gen Y may even be less financially stable than other generations as “only 58% pay their bills on time, 43% have high credit card debt and 70% aren’t building a cash cushion for emergencies.”
While 60% of Gen Y workers surveyed by Colonial Life listed benefits as the second most important aspect of job satisfaction, they don’t want to buy them. With health benefits costs rapidly increasing each year, they’re often viewed as unaffordable or a low priority. However, employers who utilize voluntary benefits provide their employees with the ability to customize their benefits package to their current needs. Choice of benefits was recognized as “extremely important” for creating loyalty in the MetLife Study by 41% of Gen Y and 40% of Gen X workers.
Rather than wait for open enrollment to add to your benefits package, there are voluntary benefits that can be offered to all your employees year-round. Benefits that will not only appeal to the Gen Y worker, but will encourage financial responsibility, reduce to exposure to high-interest credit card, and not add to the administrative burden benefits already placed on HR.
Employee purchase programs can provide eligible workers with access to a variety of brand-name, current-model products that will appeal to each generation of your workforce. This easy-to-administer benefit doesn’t need to be on hold for the next open enrollment to be deployed, and is conveniently managed through a company’s existing payroll deduction program.
To ensure long-term business success employers need to review the benefits they offer the new generation of workers. Addressing the needs and expectations of Gen Y employees with voluntary benefits will strengthen their loyalty and keep companies competitive as Baby Boomers retire.