Beginners guide: how to use flexible benefits to engage different generations in wellbeing benefits


Employers are currently facing a unique set of challenges – the uncertainty of Brexit, accompanied by a fragile economic recovery, means many companies are facing budget cuts and restrictions.

To add to this, an ageing population accompanied by personal circumstances preventing employees from retiring at the traditional age of 65, means the age gap between the youngest and oldest employees is on the rise.

There isn’t a one size fits all approach to employee benefits. Different generations value different benefits, at varying life stages.

That’s why we have produced the whitepaper, ‘Addressing the challenges of the 4G workforce’. It’s a useful collection of ideas for how flexible benefits can meet the challenges of recruiting, retaining, motivating and engaging employees from different generations.

What are flexible benefits?

Flexible benefits offer a solution to the challenges posed by a multigenerational workforce and an expansive benefits landscape. They provide employees with more control over their benefits package enabling individuals to choose and modify the combination of benefits they are receiving at any one time.

A wide range of benefit options can be presented to employees, from gym membership through to childcare vouchers, appealing to their differing life stages. This is a welcome benefits approach, with 91% of employees wanting flexibility and choice, according to our 2015 research into flexible benefits.

What should be offered through a flexible benefits package?

When it comes to the benefits themselves, pensions are the top benefit wanted by 66% of employees. The second most popular benefit is a health and wellbeing offering, desired by 58% of employees, including health plans, dental plans or private medical insurance (PMI).

Health and dental plans deliver prevention before cure, offering easy access to a wide range of health benefits. If an employee knows they can hastily access GP services or claim back the cost of dentistry, this may encourage them to be more proactive with their everyday health, rather than ignoring the situation until it becomes a chronic issue.

On average, workplace absence costs an employer £522 per employee per year, with stress being the most common reason for long-term absence. Stress is caused by varying factors, yet some health plan providers offer counselling and/or mental health support, meaning stress related sickness can often be pre-empted and prevented.

PMI, on the other hand, reacts when something goes wrong with an employee’s health. This is a benefit typically preferred by older employees; however some younger employees like the security of PMI - just in case.

Other popular flexible benefits include life insurance (31%), childcare vouchers (30%), shopping discounts (28%), income protection insurance (25%), the ability to buy and sell holidays (23%), personal accident insurance (15%), cycle to work schemes (12%), and travel insurance (10%).

How can employees engage with a flexible benefit package?

The buck doesn’t stop with simply offering a flexible benefit package. Employer communication of the scheme is essential to drum up employee engagement. Employers and benefit suppliers should work in partnership to fully understand and tailor the product offering to suit the needs of that business’ workforce.

A good supplier of health and wellbeing benefits often supply in-house awareness and marketing materials to promote everyday employee health. This often falls in line with topical subjects, such as the benefits of exercise during a major sporting event, or a reminder of the importance of an annual dental check-up during oral health month.

The future workforce and the future of flexible benefits

There is a heightened expectation within today’s workforce to receive a comprehensive benefits offering from an employer, with 82% of jobseekers saying they would turn down a job if it lacked an attractive benefits package. 

Flexible benefits allow each employee to pick and mix benefits to complement their lifestyle needs. Not only does this make for a satisfied workforce, but with 66% of employees saying they would be more inclined to stay with an employer who provided good benefits, flexible benefits also help retain talent.

Find out more about the whitepaper, ‘Addressing the challenges of the 4G workforce’.

This article was supplied by SimplyHealth. 


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