Younger workers more receptive to voluntary benefits

Employers looking to retain their younger employees can use this suggestion: Offer voluntary benefits.

A MetLife survey finds younger employees appreciate robust benefit offerings more than their boomer counterparts, even if it means paying all the cost for those voluntary benefits themselves.

The Gen Y and X generations, who comprised 56 percent of the small business workforce in the survey, say they recognize that their goal of more financial security can entail a cost, and as a group they are willing to do their part, despite the financial strains some of them are feeling. Two-thirds of those younger workers say they'd be willing to pay more of the cost of benefits rather than lose them.

Additionally, 74 percent of Gen X and Gen Y workers say they want more benefits to choose from and 71 percent say they want more personalized benefits geared toward different age groups. Those younger workers who are satisfied with their benefits were much more likely to feel a very strong sense of loyalty to their employers 72 percent compared with 46 percent of younger workers overall.

Of the voluntary benefits that younger workers want most, they cite: life, disability, critical illness, dental and vision.

[See 5 voluntary products to watch this year]

“It’s hard to overestimate the importance of responding to the needs of younger workers on whose shoulders the future of a small business can depend,” says Anthony J. Nugent, executive vice president, group, voluntary & worksite sales, at MetLife. “Our study underscores that generational differences about benefits needs and preferences are not just reflections of age. Younger workers, particularly those in many smaller organizations that were hit very hard by the recession, and who are unsure about the future of Social Security, have a different benefits perspective than older generations.”



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