Oh, those Millennials. They’re confident, tech-savvy and distrustful of large organizations.  They want recognition, work-life balance and career advancement.

Employers are challenged to respond to this demographic in a meaningful way.  With Millennials now the largest generation in the Canadian workforce, their disdain for the status quo is forcing changes in how employee benefits plans are shaped, offered and delivered.

Millennials want more benefits – and the more flexible those benefits, the better. Their focus is on wellness. It’s evidenced in an increase in paramedical claims, with massage therapies topping the list of demands, but chiropractic, physiotherapy and acupuncture services are up, too.

And Millennials want it easy. Fewer people these days – particularly among Millennials – want a complicated package of benefits.. They don’t want to fill out a bucketful of forms.  They want an app, like the one they use to find Starbucks stores and pay for their mochas, giving them the ability to quickly access their plan and the information they need.

The thing is, Millennials believe there aren’t enough options in their employers’ benefit plans to satisfy their expectations – even though there’s been a concerted push among employers and insurers to enrich their benefit menus. And what compounds the problem? Millennials don’t have a solid grasp on the costs involved in offering a progressive plan.

As this trend takes hold, employers need to adapt and aggressively work on workplace policies to attract and retain this younger demographic.

Here are four important areas to address:

  • Take a hard look at your menu of benefits and make sure they reflect the needs and interests of your spectrum of employees as well as your overall company objectives.
  • Re-evaluate how you are communicating your benefits program to your staff: – what’s available, how to tap into them and how to be a smart consumer of services.  Keep your materials straightforward and easy to understand.
  • Make sure you’re leveraging technology.  For starters, it will facilitate usage with a population that’s always on the go. There’s an app for just about everything these days, allowing smartphone users to check their claims, HSA balances, information about their drug plans and even use e-payment to receive claim payments by direct deposit.
  • Focus on benefits that emphasize and reward healthy behaviours, as wellness and prevention resonate more with today’s employees – particularly Millennials. For younger workers, what’s particularly prized is a program that assists them to achieve better work/life balance.
As Millennials increasingly dominate the workplace, they’re demanding more forward thinking on the part of employers and insurers than ever before. Organizations that adapt to what tomorrow’s generation of decision-makers want and need, will come out ahead.