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Giving Benefits to Different Generations

Originally posted July 29, 2013 on Recruiter.com

Benefits: Different Strokes for Different Folks

Fantastic job: Excited young businessman giving thumbs up whileRetaining star employees is vital to the success of any company. Keeping turnover low saves time, money, improves workplace morale and does wonders for your employer brand.

Every employee is different, as is what motivates him or her. Knowing what your employees value is the key to keeping them satisfied, and can be the key to retaining them for years to come.

The more tailored you can make your perks, the better; but for some companies simply addressing commonalities within the generations can give them a head start. Here are some insights on the desires of your employees when it comes to benefits, broken down by generation*:


How to retain millennials may be the wrong question. It’s more important to this generation to feel like they are part of something and they are learning and growing with the company. They don’t have the same desire to stay at one company forever like previous generations. So how do you solve the problems millennials can bring?

First, it is important to understand that they don’t live to work, they work to live. Millennials see work as a means to support their entire lives. They rarely think in terms of hours in the office, they think in terms of completing a project. In other words, time is the most valued reward you can offer this group. Paid time off, vacation time, part-time work, and flex-work/telecommuting are just a few ways you can give them what they really want.

Don’t expect a millennial to think in 6- or 12-month ranges when it comes to goal setting. Back into shorter and more attainable goals in rapid succession is a great way to keep a millennial interested and working hard.

And whatever you do, don’t take away their tech freedom. This is a generation that grew up with amazing technological advancesthe iPhone is practically melded to their handand there is no reason to expect them to begin throwing their smart phones in the trash now. A good way to lose a millennial is by enforcing strict social media policies or banning the use of their favorite devices. This is a clear sign of mistrust, which shows that they are emphatically NOT part of something.

Gen Xers

With this particular group it is almost easier to relate what they don’t want. Gen Xers have become increasingly fed up with office politics, ladder climbing and a lack of fulfillment from their work.

Since Gen X comes largely from single-parent families, this generation termed the “latch-key” kids, is self-sufficient and independentLose a great Gen X worker by micro-managing them. They don’t respond well to an over-controlled environment. They are known for their pride in their capabilities, and to undermine that can mean losing a loyal and productive employee.

This generation also values work-from-home options (no surprise, a recent SHRM survey reported that 79 percent of workers would prefer this situation), so do what you can to set up their work schedule to be flexible to accommodate family needs and help make them more productive. Read more…