LIFESTYLE
11/05/2018 06:10 SAST | Updated 11/05/2018 06:10 SAST

Millennials Are Redefining Employee Benefits – And Employers Must Adapt

"Benefits that prioritise employees having access to their own secure online account via portals, as well as transparent, regular and clear communication will become key..."

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By 2020, millennials will make up about 35 percent of the global workforce, and it therefore makes sense for business owners to consider how their employee benefits need to change in order to attract and retain this talent.

"It is critical therefore that employers look at options that give millennials a more engaging experience," said the head of group savings and investments at Allan Gray, Saleem Sonday.

This is particularly important as millennials are more tech-savvy than baby boomers, and so will likely begin to look for benefits — for example, retirement benefits — that will fit into their digitally advanced lives.

...Benefits that prioritise employees having access to their own secure online account via portals, as well as transparent, regular and clear communication, will become key in the coming years.

"Retirement savings benefits that prioritise employees having access to their own secure online account via portals, as well as transparent, regular and clear communication, will become key in the coming years," said Sonday.

This is what millennials surveyed in the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017 highlighted as the top motivators and benefits they look for in a career:

  • Plain language and simple benefit terms

Millennials look for plain and simple terms when it comes to corporate policy, including employee-benefit information. They do not want to read through complex documents and forms to learn about their benefits. Instead, they want direct and to-the-point information delivered on-demand at all times.

In wanting this simplicity, they are no different to any generation before them. Now, however, it is actually a possibility.

  • Benefits reliant on technology

They demand access to employee benefit information 24/7 — much like they turn to the internet for every other thing they need to learn. They indicated the need for mobile apps that include access to benefits tasks and information.

  • Flexibility in employee benefits

They want flexible benefits that give them more spending power and the ability to decide what meets their individual needs as their lives change.

  • Creative work benefits

They prefer flexible schedules that allow them to focus on their work, get things accomplished, and then return to their daily lives instead of the routine 9-5.

  • Careers that make a real difference

The Deloitte survey advised that millennials are keen on making a real difference, and while they are pro-business, they also believe in corporate responsibility.

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Umbrella funds, for instance, may be one of the better millennial employee benefit options — they are seen to be taking over as the retirement savings vehicle of choice, suggests Sonday. "They club together multiple businesses in a single fund with standardised rules and a single board of trustees, thereby making them an efficient and cost-effective retirement savings solution."

And although they traditionally had a reputation for high costs, opaqueness and complexity, this is changing, with new market entrants prioritising the use of technology to offer a better, more transparent product and superior service to redefine the South African umbrella-fund offering — positive news for not only the retirement industry, but also employers.

"It is critical that employers look at their employee-benefits offering to ensure that they remain relevant in attracting talent, to ensure the continued success of their business," concluded Sonday.