A Benefit Plan From B to Z

The Baby Boomers, Generation X, millennials, and Generation Z, who make up most employers’ workforce, have different situations and benefit needs. That’s why increasing numbers of employers are looking beyond a one-size-fits-all plan to multi-generational benefit plans.


The first step in moving your company’s benefit package toward a multi-generational offering is to know your workforce demographics and identify
what the different generations have in common and what their differences are.

The University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagner Business School Guide to Leading the Multi-Generational Workforce identified these age-arcing values: success for the companies; a culture that encourages leaders to lead by example, be accessible, serve as a coach or mentor, challenge employees, and hold them accountable; to enable success in their careers; recognition of different life stages; and expectation of new and unanticipated challenges ahead. Specific to benefits, a Forbes Advisor survey found that Gen Z, Gen X, and baby boomers all prioritize flexible work options, paid time off, and parental leave.


Tailor communications. Baby boomers, for example, value job security and loyalty to their employers. Gen Xers prioritize work-life balance and flexibility. Make all communication clear and easy to understand, and send through multiple channels. Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z have grown up in a digital age of instant information. They prefer short, straightforward messages. Solicit feedback throughout the year and act on it. And measure benefits use over time and adjust your program accordingly.


Motivate employees with incentives that matter to them. To create effective reward programs, consider what inspires (or turns off) certain generations or individuals. Create programs that encourage generations to work together and to share knowledge. Let them know that sharing their knowledge is vital to the success of your organization. For more direction, review your benefits program regularly with your financial professional.

Employee Benefits: Eliminate Coverage Gaps

With new hires, you want to be confident that they will become loyal, productive, and valuable long-time employees. One way to achieve this goal is to have a well-thought-out employee benefit program that serves your needs. To see if your program has gaps you may want to consider what competitors offer and what employees look for.

According to a recent study*, business owners are offering benefits at the highest rates since 2008. What benefits are owners ramping up? The percentage of employers offering comprehensive health insurance, health savings accounts, wellness solutions, and employee assistance programs (EAPs) increased from 2022 to 2023. As for qualified retirement plans, the popularity of 401(k) and Simple IRA plans increased among employers, while other plans were offered at about the same rate as last year. For supplementary key employee benefits, both disability income insurance and deferred compensation dropped in popularity among employers while other benefits remained steady.

Still, affordability remains businesses’ top priority where benefits are concerned, ahead of attracting and retaining qualified employees and staff productivity. Your goal in reviewing your benefits program should be working with your professional advisor to achieve quality benefits at a reasonable cost to your business.

On that note, some of the “benefits” employees are looking for can be provided at little or no cost. Another study** found that most workers judge whether a job is good by the pay, boss, health and retirement benefits, vacation time, friendliness of co-workers, whether they’re helping people or society, remote work options, and opportunities for advancement. Pay was the top consideration at 45% of employees, followed by a good boss at 14%. People ages 27 to 34 are more likely to say promotion opportunities and advancement are important than older employees. And they place less emphasis on health insurance, retirement, and vacation benefits.

* 2023 Report on Employer Firms: Findings from the 2022 Small Business Credit Survey
** Washington Post-Ipso Poll, 2023

Creating a PTO Policy

Creating a Paid Time Off (PTO) policy is essential to a company’s benefits package. As an employer, you have the flexibility to design a policy that suits your business and meets the needs of your employees.


Ensure your policy adheres to applicable laws. Some states mandate specific types of paid leave, such as sick leave.


Decide the types of leave to include, such as vacation, personal days, and sick leave. Some companies opt for a “bank” system where all kinds of leave are lumped together, giving employees more flexibility.


Your policy should define how PTO is accrued. Is it based on hours worked or a set amount per year? Will unused PTO roll over to the next year? You must also outline how PTO requests should be made and approved, ensuring fairness and transparency.


Finally, communicate the policy to your employees. A well-structured PTO policy can enhance employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Review and adjust the policy periodically to keep it relevant and effective.