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Remember when all you expected todo with your phone was make calls? Now, you expect your smartphoneto give you driving directions, recommend nearby restaurants, trackyour favorite politician's tweets, and take great selfies toboot.

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Likewise, expectations for employee benefits have changed —especially for millennials and Gen Zers. Standard benefits, likemedical and dental insurance and paid vacation, only scratch thesurface of what younger employees care about today. Now, employersneed to offer the same types of perks we've all come to expect fromour smartphones: convenience, choice, connection and more.

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That means flip-phone era benefits won't cut it if your clientswant to recruit and retain top millennial and Gen Z talent. Toattract the best of these generations, employers must upgradeemployee benefits for the smartphone generation.

Convenience and immediacy

Over the past two decades, exponential technological advancementhas radically changed every facet of how we work and play. We livein a world where you can binge-watch any show you want whileordering groceries and simultaneously tweeting about both.Millennials and Gen Zers expect benefits that conform to theirlifestyle—quick, easy, painless.

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Also: Younger workers not seeing the importance of visionbenefits

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In years past, it was sufficient to offer the standard benefitspackage and delivery mechanism, which entailed schedulingappointments and driving somewhere to access benefits. No more! Whowants to drive 20 minutes to a doctor's office and sit for hours ina crowded room of sneezing people when you can video chat with aTeladoc physician and have your prescription filled with same-daydelivery from your pharmacy in minutes? Or schedule an appointmentto head to a musty office to go over binders of information with acareer coach when you can just fire up your laptop, upload yourresume for review, and video chat with a career coach on thespot—all in your pajamas?

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In a multiscreen, smartphone-dominated world, old-schoolbenefits need to come with a new-tech twist; both with theavailability of benefits that fit the millennial lifestyle as wellas the ability to manage everything online.

Choice and personalization

There is no shortage of options today in any area of our lives.Whether it's a show, a shoe, or a shared software solution, there'sa veritable catalog of possibilities all waiting to be evaluatedand dismissed or selected.

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This means organizations need to offer options too. Millennialsand Gen Zers must be able to select from a suite of benefits tobest suit their specific situation andlifestyle. Of course, the desire to pick and choose isn'tlimited just to the younger generations. According to theCareerArc Future of Recruiting Study, 71percent of all job seekers rank workplace flexibility as the topbenefit that would most attract or retain them as employees,followed by health and wellness perks (58 percent) and professionaldevelopment/course fee reimbursements (48 percent). Companiesshould offer benefits to promote flexibility, including the freedomto work remotely, unlimited paid time off, or flex hours.

Connection and purpose

Millennials and Gen Zers are known to be drawn to causes withsocial impact. They also often have a natural curiosity and questfor knowledge, craving rich learning experiences and the ability togrow and evolve while contributing to a higher purpose. Accordingto a survey conducted by TODAY and fitness company Greatist,75 percent of millennials believe thatfinding a sense of purpose in their work is more important thansalary. And 60 percent of millennials believe social responsibilityplays a significant role in choosing where they want to work.Continued education, training, mentorship, and advancementopportunities, as well as social impact programs and volunteering(or time off to participate in these activities), are benefits thatresonate with this group.

Stability and well-being

Millennials and Gen Zers are no strangers to economic woes; theimpact of the Great Recession still stings. Millennials inparticular got off to a rough start and are worse off than earliergenerations in terms of their career advancement and financials.According to a Bank of America survey, more thanthree-quarters of millennials carry debt, with 16 percent of thoseowing $50,000 or more, not including mortgage debt. In addition,education costs have skyrocketed in recent years, meaningmillennials and Gen Zers are graduating college with high studentloan debt that weigh them down.

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To appeal to millennials and Gen Zers, organizations can focuson benefits like student loan repayment assistance. Outplacementbenefits — career transition programs given to employees who arelaid off or terminated — are also appreciated as a security measureto help find work should employment end. An impressive 71 percentof job seekers are likely to choose a company that offersoutplacement over a company that does not, if all else was equal,according to the CareerArc Workplace Flexibility Study. Inaddition, retirement plans, especially matching plans or plans thatuse technology to help maximize return outcomes, are also popularamong younger generations.

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While news headlines that claim to define the millennial and GenZers abound, the truth is that these groups defy unifyingexplanations. Gen Z is the most diverse generation in Americanhistory, whose members "also possess untraditional views aboutidentity," according to The New York Times. This meansforward-thinking employers must embrace employees' diversity ofneeds and wants, providing benefits that offer the personalizedconvenience of the smartphone age.

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Yair Riemer is President of Career Transition Services atCareerArc.

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