Work culture trumps benefits for millennials

Original post

Millennials don’t just work for money. They also like doing things that they believe in.

That’s according to a new report from Virgin Pulse, which surveyed over 1,000 full-time millennial employees to get a sense of what they’re looking for in a job.

That’s not to say that today’s youth are all devoted philanthropists. In fact, only 39 percent believe that charity is very important at work.

But what they do want is a culture and mission they can get behind. The report found that 77 percent of young workers believe that company culture is at least as important as pay and benefits. Three-quarters of them can identify their company’s mission and nearly just as many believe it is important that their employer have one.

The survey also suggested that most millennials aren’t stressed that technology is eroding the barrier between work and personal time. Ninety-three percent said that it’s OK to work during off-hours. Two-thirds of them say they have texted with their boss about work. And a slight majority — 55 percent — say that tech helps balance their work-life priorities.

And yet, the survey suggests that millennials expect their responsiveness to emails and texts to be rewarded with some slack from their boss, as 80 percent identified flexible work hours as important.

The report warns employers to watch out for burnout among young workers, no matter how infinite their energy or availability may appear: “24/7 accessibility does a number on their stress levels and your business, so encourage employees to put up some tech parameters.”

Benefit offerings impacted by millennials

Originally posted by Mike Nesper on August 31, 2015 on

Generation Y surpassed Generation X this year, to become the largest population of employees in the workforce — more than one in three U.S. workers are between the ages of 18 and 34, according the Pew Research Center. And those 53.5 million millennials are influencing the benefits employers are offering.

Millennials want more customization, says Meredith Ryan-Reid, senior vice president of MetLife’s group, voluntary and worksite benefits. Employers feel the same: 54% rated benefits customization as extremely important, according to MetLife’s 13th annual employee benefits trends study.

Millennials like variety, so employers should offer a broad range of benefits, says Joe Ellis, senior vice president of CBIZ Benefits and Insurance Services. The same isn’t true for networks. Millennials aren’t particularly concerned with narrow networks — they go to whoever is included, Ellis says.

That’s a good thing, especially as more employers are reducing network accessibility as a way to cut costs. This year, 11% of employers introduced narrow network plans as a cost containment tactic, a 7% increase from 2014, according to the Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. recent benefits strategy and benchmarking survey. Cost-sharing and changing carriers were the most frequently used strategies for controlling health care costs.

Both methods have a limited shelf life. Only a certain amount can be pushed onto employees, and recent mergers have reduced the list of major U.S. health insurance companies to just three, says Bill Ziebell, executive vice president of Gallagher Benefit Services.

Employers are also using online enrollment, telemedicine and mandatory specialty pharmacy programs to rein in costs — but premiums are still rising. Six in 10 employers reported increases of 4% or more during their most recent renewal, Gallagher found, and 23% of respondents saw double-digit increases.

Many employers are focused on medical renewals and others are hampered by Affordable Care Act regulations, Ziebell says. “It’s hard to be strategic,” he says, and that’s exactly the help advisers need to give their clients. Advisers and their employer clients should take an all-inclusive look at benefits and have a plan for several years into the future, Ziebell says.

Millennials impacted by the recession

The recession had a big impact on millennials, who entered the job market at a tough time, and many aren’t relying on government safety nets being in place later in life, Ryan-Reid says. In fact, nearly one-quarter of Americans expect no Social Security benefits, a survey found.

That has spurred millennials to take a greater interest in employer offerings. “They’re craving information,” Ryan-Reid says. However, some employers aren’t delivering.

Just 38.4% of millennials strongly agree that their company is effectively educating them about their benefits, the MetLife study found. When presented with the statement, “I am confident I made the right decisions at my last annual enrollment,” less than half of millennials, 48.5%, strongly agreed, compared to 54% of Gen X employees and 62% of baby boomers.

Access to information that’s easy to understand increases confidence among all generations, MetLife found. For millennails, they prefer education via their provider’s website, a benefits handbook and in-person meetings. “In general, most people prefer to talk to someone,” Ryan-Reid says.

5 myths about millennials and benefits

Originally posted by Lindsey Pollak on

Millennials (ages 18-31), also known as Gen Y, are 80 million strong, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As this generation climbs into leadership roles, they’ll change many aspects of the workplace, including the benefits landscape.

To help better understand this giant generation of consumers and employees, it’s time to dispel five common myths about who millennials are and what they want.

1.) Millennials all live at home and don’t have financial responsibilities.

True, many millennials are living at home today. Three out of 10 parents (27 percent) have at least one adult child, between the ages of 21 and 40, still living with them at home, according to the National Housing Federation. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have financial responsibilities: Mom and Dad might be asking Junior to chip in on rent or expecting him to pay off his student loans they co-signed.

The Hartford 2013 Benefits for Tomorrow Study found two-thirds of workers today have loved ones relying on their paycheck, with 10 percent of millennials reporting that their parents rely on their salary. That’s all the more reason for millennials to protect their paycheck by signing for disability insurance at work.

For many millennials living at home, one of their primary financial responsibilities is dealing with student loan debt. The average debt for students graduating in 2013 is $35,000, according to Fidelity. If parents are co-signers on those student loans, it’s in their best interest to encourage their kids to sign up for disability and life insurance at work. Disability insurance can help keep an income coming in (and the ability to pay back loans) should the millennial worker become ill or injured off the job, while life insurance can help provide funding to pay off student loan debt.

Help the millennials make the connection between benefits and their very real financial responsibilities.

2.) Millennials want all digital communications all the time.

True, millennials are considered “digital natives.” They’ve grown up with technology their entire lives. While they like digital options, many appreciate help in real life, as well. They appreciate an advisor who can provide advice in whatever way they desire — text, email, instant message, phone call, or an in-person meeting.

Help millennials by providing the benefits advisors that they’re looking for. They want to be able to review their benefits options online but have a real-live person available to answer their specific questions. Help your clients make this connection possible.

3.) Millennials all want to start their own companies like Mark Zuckerberg.

True, many millennials think like entrepreneurs. Many even have side projects, like a blog, in addition to their 9-to-5 jobs. But the vast majority of millennials like to work for companies of all sizes — as long as those companies understand them and their needs.

Help the millennials on your team feel like entrepreneurs, by allowing them to express their individuality and effect change around them. And share this advice with your employer clients, as well.

For example, some companies allow millennials to pursue small projects related to their particular interests or participate in occasional community service projects during work hours.

4.) Millennials don’t want baby boomers’ help or advice.

True, millennials enjoy their independence. But in the workplace they actually appreciate theirbaby boomer co-workers’ experience and knowledge. Don’t forget that the millennials are the children of baby boomers, and many raised their kids in their own image. Millennials tend to like and appreciate their baby boomer bosses and colleagues.

The Hartford 2013 Benefits For Tomorrow Study found that 93 percent of baby boomers believe millennials bring new skills and ideas to the workplace, and 89 percent of millennials agree baby boomers in the workplace are a great source of mentorship.

Help millennials by making connections between the two generations — either at your workplace or among your employer clients. Consider the idea of co-mentoring, in which employees of different generations share knowledge and skills with each other.

When you are having discussions around company policies and decisions, make sure to have representative employees present from all generations in your company. This way there will be someone who can offer each generation’s point of view on the items under discussion.

5.) Millennials aren’t serious about being leaders.

True, millennials are often viewed as “entitled” and carefree. Case in point: the YOLO (you only live once) catchphrase. But many are leaders in all aspects of life. In fact, 15 percent of millennials are already in management positions, and there are many young people who want to move into leadership positions soon.

Help millennial leaders to understand that they need to protect their potential. Show them how insurance benefits can keep them on track to meet their professional and personal goals. For example, if they can’t work because they tore a ligament during a 5K, disability insurancemay help them pay bills — and stay on track to buying a house or traveling around the world.

By helping millennials as both consumers and employees, you can better advise your clients and manage your business today — and into the increasingly millennial-dominated future.

Connecting Millenials, Stress and EAPs


By Sean Fogarty

Millennials are loosely defined as the 75 million young adults born between 1980 and 2000 and make up about one-third of today’s U.S. workforce. Although this generation has been called everything from "innovative" to "entitled," the recent "Stress in America" study from the American Psychological Association has different label for them: Stressed.

According to this survey, which has measured the stress of Americans since 2007, stress levels decreased across the board in 2012 except for those between the ages of 18 and 33. On the survey’s 10-point scale, where a 10 indicates ‘a great deal of stress,’ the average stress level of all Americans was 4.9. For millennials, it was 5.4. Millennials reported their top stressors as work (cited by 76%), money (73%) and relationships (59%).

An employee assistance program — through short-term counseling and work-life benefits, such as financial consultation — can have a positive impact on the aforementioned stressors. After reading this survey, I wanted to determine if there was any correlation between the study’s results and CuraLinc’s book of business EAP utilization data for 2012. What I found was interesting, to say the least:

• Millennials do have job stress. Despite only representing 29% of all EAP users, those between 18 and 33 years old constituted almost half (48%) of EAP cases where the primary presenting concern was ‘Job Stress’.

• Millennials are resolution-focused. Case resolution within the EAP was higher with Millennial employees (95%) than it was among all other age groups (87%).

• Millennials have personal financial concerns. Two in five cases (41%) involving financial consultation through the EAP were provided to Millennials, even though those between 18 and 33 years old made up only 29% of EAP users.

• Promoting benefits to Millennials requires a multi-pronged approach. Employees between the ages of 18 and 33 were twice as likely to learn about the EAP through electronic promotion (email messaging, a client’s web portal, eFlyers, etc.) than other generations.

In a nutshell, the trends across CuraLinc’s book of business are consistent with the findings in the APA’s "Stress in America" survey. Millennials will seek assistance from an EAP for their job stress – and will maximize their time with the program by focusing on resolution.

The key to leveraging this information into an actionable plan is to tailor a communication strategy that drives maximum awareness of the program to millennials. This approach should combine traditional EAP promotional vehicles such as brochures, flyers and orientation sessions with a technology-based marketing approach.

In 2025, three in four working Americans will be Millennials. By helping them manage stress and anxiety in their 20s and 30s, they’ll be more productive and better-equipped to assume leadership positions down the road.