Voluntary benefits and the multigenerational workforce

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Key takeaways

Learn how voluntary benefits can help your company appeal to an age-diverse team.

Today, companies often employ people from up to five different generations! Learn how your employee benefits can cater to an age-diverse team.

With many people living longer and retiring later, generational diversity in the workplace is growing. Today, companies could employ people from up to five different generations: Traditionalists (born 1928–1945), Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964), Gen X (born 1965–1980), Millennials (born 1981–1996), and Gen Z (born 1997–2012).1

There are many advantages of having an age-diverse team, such as increased innovation and creativity. But it also presents challenges, especially when it comes to choosing employee benefits that appeal to everyone.

From the fresh-faced 20-something to the 68-year-old pre-retiree, each generation is different and wants its unique circumstances, perspectives, and expectations represented in employee benefits. Additionally, each generation brings with them their own health risks and needs, medical costs, family makeup, and financial situation, making it difficult for there to be a one-size-fits-all healthcare plan.

Fortunately, voluntary benefits can help companies and brokers meet the array of expectations and create customized group benefits plans with multigenerational appeal!

Voluntary benefits and the multigenerational workforce

Today’s workforce—regardless of generation—has come to expect customization: the ability to choose the coverage options that work for them. That’s where voluntary benefits (also known as supplemental insurance) can fit the bill. Employees can elect to buy voluntary benefits to help fill the gaps left by the core benefits they may receive. Examples of voluntary benefits include:

  • Cancer insurance: Pays benefits when cancer is diagnosed, plus benefits for treatments, hospitalizations, transportation, lodging and more.
  • Heart/stroke insurance: Pays benefits for heart- or stroke-related hospitalization, heart transplant, surgery, nursing care and medications.
  • Critical illness insurance: Offers more complete protection against costs related to common diseases like cancer, heart attack, stroke, and end-stage renal failure.
  • Hospital indemnity insurance: Helps pay for hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) stays.
  • Accident insurance: Helps cover the out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred due to injuries such as broken bones, burns, lacerations and more.

While younger generations of employees may be drawn to accident insurance or hospital indemnity insurance, older employees may gravitate more toward the cancer or heart/stroke coverage. Employees may also consider their unique family medical history when deciding to choose coverage. Voluntary benefits allow employees to curate a healthcare package that caters to their unique needs!

Unlike major medical insurance, voluntary benefits are paid directly to employees, not doctors or hospitals. Employees can use the benefits to help cover the out-of-pocket costs left by major medical insurance, such as deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance, noncovered treatments, as well as everyday living expenses—the rent, mortgage, car payment and even groceries.

Communicating about voluntary benefits with a multigenerational workforce

When offering voluntary benefits to an age-diverse team, communication is key! Communicating well with employees can help:

  • Increase employee participation.
  • Help employees understand how to use their benefits.
  • Boost employee appreciation of benefits.
  • Increase employee loyalty.

Each generation—and individual—has unique communication preferences, which is why a multifaceted communications strategy works. Contacting employees through several delivery methods will help ensure everyone is reached and given the information needed to make informed health care decisions.

Are you developing an employee benefits program for an age-diverse team?

Optavise can help enhance your employee benefits program with voluntary products that appeal to a multigeneration workforce. Our communications strategy will engage employees of all ages, prepare them for enrollment, and help them understand their benefits. Request a demo to learn more about our services!

1LinkedIn, Understanding Generational Diversity: Why It’s Important To The Future Workplace, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/understanding-generational-diversity-why-its-future-mary-cooney-phd/, 2022.