There are as many posts about generational differences in the workplace as there are 17-year-olds at Starbucks discussing Game of Thrones battle strategies (dragons? no-dragons?). Friends, if you don’t know, that number is pretty big. So, today I thought I would flip the script and talk about what workers of all generations actually value. Specifically, what benefits make all generations want to follow their own Jon Snow (CEO) into a battle with the White Walkers.
As you know, there are a lot of items that fall under the umbrella of “benefits” - compensation, medical coverage, wellness programs, employee assistance programs, flex-time, paid vacation time and sick leave. And then there is free food! Free coffee! Free happy hour! Of course, there are training and development programs, corporate mentorships, paid volunteer days, retirement programs. And the ability to work from home. And Pet insurance. And macaroon baking classes (read # 17 on this list). It’s a pretty incredible time to be a worker right now!
That being said, not all of these fit all needs. I mean, I love a macaroon as much as the next guy, but I may not take a job because of a great teambuilding benefit.
However, there are a few benefits Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y (and whatever the next, next generation is) all hope they hear will be offered when going through their interview. Drum roll…
- Fair Base Compensation - (or for top employees, competitive compensation). The foundation of your total compensation plan should be marketable pay, ideally no lower than within the 50th percentile. Seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised. I mean, payroll costs are no joke for organizations. Even well-intended leaders (perhaps under financial pressure) find ways to convince themselves employees really do prefer free soda over being paid in the 75th percentile!
Don’t get me wrong - employees of all generations value employer-subsidized health insurance (see bullet point 3). But at the end of the day, if an employee believes they aren’t being paid fairly (or for a top employee, competitively), the cheap benefits won’t be valued enough by any generation to stay with you, Jon Snow.
- Work Flexibility - It’s amazing this is considered a benefit. In 2017 the ability to work remotely or from the coffee shop or in a way that flexes with an individual’s schedule should be the norm. But I digress. That being said, all generations value some form of flexibility as their industry and culture allow. Boomers like exploring working part-time.
- Xers appreciate flex scheduling (a mix of working from home and in the office). And Millennials would like to eliminate the office altogether and would be thrilled to work from home or remote.
- Company Subsidized Health Insurance - Simply stated, all generations expect and value the company investing dollars in their well-being. Regardless of the type of health plan offered (HSA, PPO, HMO) or “corporate contribution” percentage amounts toward premiums, deductibles or health savings accounts, all generations value this benefit.
Naturally, there is never a one-size-fits-all solution. But, if you are creating a plan that all generations will value, these three areas are a great place to start. And if you don’t find value in that, then, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
As a former VP of People, and Dawn was responsible for finding great talent, developing team members, and preserving company culture - a culture recognized in Fortune Magazine as one of the “50 Best Small and Medium Workplaces.” Recognized as a Top HR Innovator, she is also a speaker, creator of DawnHBurke.com, and a contributor to a variety of national blogs including Fistful Of Talent.