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A key HR priority for organisations is to ensure they are successfully meeting the requirements of inter-generational workforces.

Our recent HR workshops discussed how to create reward and benefits packages that meet the priorities of Generation Z (born between 2001 - 2020); Millennials (1981 - 2000); Generation X (1965 - 1980); Baby boomers (1946 - 1964); and the Silent Generation (1925 - 1945). With so many at different life stages, designing a culture and benefits package that attracts and retains people from across different generations is crucial to attracting and retaining key skills and innovation for organisations.

Diversity of thought and experience

With the recent removal of the pension lifetime allowance, this may encourage workers to continue working and pursue careers that combine purpose, passion and pay. Increasingly, employers will have a combination of people at all stages of their career that can collaborate across multiple lines of diversity, including age. 43 per cent of businesses with diverse teams report higher profits, underlining the value of generational diversity to the bottom line.

According to LinkedIn, those in Gen Z are switching jobs at a 134 per cent higher rate than pre-pandemic levels, compared to 24 per cent higher for millennials. Having a wider breadth of generations in one workforce is valuable for organisations, helping them to relate to broad customer bases and giving them a greater range of opinion when it comes to problem solving and supporting innovation. While the data suggests different habits at work based on age, there are a lot of similarities that cut across multiple generations.

What factors unite people

People of all ages will potentially be juggling care responsibilities, possible career breaks, reskilling and becoming digital nomads as some roles become purely remote. Individual lived experiences will vary beyond age, with the argument that generation is just one layer of identity.

Remaining curious and using employee engagement surveys to identify the true value employees derive from the benefits on offer to them and what they value about the culture of an organisation can help HR professionals to hone in on what makes the employee value proposition unique. Clarity around the motivations of their people can help create the right environment for people to thrive.

Paying premiums to address the skills shortage

Inflationary pressures have driven the renewed focus on pay. We have always argued that pay is a hygiene factor – when people are paid fairly, it takes it off the table as an issue as the individual can then focus on the wider benefits and culture of an organisation that they value, driving greater engagement. However, younger generations are increasingly expecting higher salaries earlier on in their careers, in addition to discounts on products and services and the ability to buy additional annual leave.

HR professionals in our HR workshops have anecdotally reported that they are paying these higher levels of pay and golden hellos to attract and retain the right skills. In a competitive labour market, many are seeing graduates as a solution to the skills shortage. With more competition for graduates and apprentices, there is an onus on progressing apprentice salaries while they are studying to avoid the risk of poaching, with cars even being offered to graduates to attract the right skills and build a pipeline of future talent.

Equally, organisations can reap dividends by embracing the skills that Generation X and Baby Boomers enrich the organisation and its teams with, helping them to achieve a common goal. Therefore, employers are ensuring that they have the right packages in place to attract and retain those who are in the later stages of their career. Reviewing pensions, private medical insurance and death in service payments are key priorities for those targeting those with experience.

Meeting the demands of generations

With a lot more generations to deliver value to and fulfil their expectations, our UK Reward Management Survey in autumn 2022 revealed that 27 per cent offer flexible benefits. A further 23 per cent are considering offering this to employees as a good way to manage reward across different generations.

Offering flexible benefits enables the individual to tailor their reward package to their own preferences. Employees can cherry pick the benefits that they value most, reflecting their own priorities. It also drives cost savings for employers who can offer a menu of options that will appeal to their employees to various degrees. By giving the employee this power to choose the make-up of their own reward package, employers are ensuring they support the individual employee and what is important to them.

Crafting a strong culture

To be able to meet the demands of employees, more employers are turning to Total Reward Statements to ensure they outline the entirety of what they offer to employees. It is not just important to offer the right package; this must be communicated effectively. Employers are also relaunching their reward offering to ensure the opt-in rates are maximised, and overcome issues where individuals are not fully aware of the range of options open to them. Promoting the detail of the offering can ensure they are fully utilised.

Companies are increasingly offering discounted access to their own services and products, which in turn drives employee engagement and loyalty to the brand. Some are also turning to their supply chain to offer access to discounted products and services.

Hybrid working and development opportunities

With the pandemic being the biggest experiment in working from home for so many organisations, this will suit some organisations better than others. Some feel that this is detrimental to the younger generation. Concerns persist that the younger generations need to be in the office to be closer to colleagues and benefit more closely from the development of skills and mentoring. Osmosis of learning may come more naturally from being in the office.

The policy when it comes to hybrid working will differ significantly across sectors and roles. While many are struggling to get people back into the office for a set number of days on a consistent basis, others say that the flexibility enables them to recruit a more diverse range of people, both demographically and geographically.

Values-led organisations

The extent to which people are expected to be present in the office may vary depending on the purpose of an organisation. For national and international firms, there might be greater flexibility to be more remote-based while working across multiple offices. Therefore, the approach to internal communications and driving greater employee engagement might differ to regional companies dedicated to serving local communities. Housing Associations in particular have reported that it is slightly trickier to emphasise the strong community link as much as they did before the pandemic, as the return to the office is more gradual for some.

Values-led recruitment is vital. The World Economic Forum highlights that strong company values are essential to attract the next generation of professionals. The research by LinkedIn shows that more than two thirds of professionals in Europe want to work for companies that share their values, driven by Generation Z and Millennials who would leave to work somewhere that better reflected their values. The social media company’s search filter enables job seekers to search for roles based on values including work-life balance, EDI, career growth and social impact and environmental sustainability.

Get in touch

Multi-generational teams should be seen as a competitive advantage to an organisation, given the range of perspectives and experiences this offers. Nurturing a culture that has something to offer everyone can be achieved through flexible benefits packages designed to support employees at different life stages, while ensuring that cohesion comes from everyone being aligned to the wider purpose and mission of an organisation. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you ensure your reward strategy offers true value to employees.

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