These 3 benefits are wanted by all generations in the workforce


When you have an age-diverse workforce, putting together benefits and policies that satisfy all employees is a tough task. But there are a few perks that each generation feels are essential.

Data from a recent Forbes Advisor survey showed many employees are unhappy at work: Gen Z and millennials are the least satisfied generations within the workforce, scoring a 5.2 and 4.6 out of 10, respectively. Baby boomers weren't feeling much better, coming in with a 5.6, and Gen X was the most content with a score of 6.6. Overall, less than 20% of respondents rated their job satisfaction at eight or higher. Research shows that benefits play a large role in worker contentment, so figuring out if there's a gap in offerings could be an important step to improving overall employee morale.

"We can see there's probably a difference between what employees are actually going to benefit from compared to what businesses are providing," says Madison Haggin, senior digital PR manager at Forbes Advisor. "There are some nuances emerging depending on what your workforce looks like, but [benefits like] mental health, flexibility and upskilling aren't just important to one subsection of employees, but throughout all age groups."

Here are three benefits that should be at the core of every company's offerings.

According to the Forbes Advisor survey, 79% of respondents said flexible work options is the most important benefit a company can offer. Sixty-four percent said flexible parental leave was crucial, with Gen Z (66%) and Gen X (65%) leading this category, while millennials placed a higher priority on flexible paid time off and vacation. Regardless of subcategory, the main thing employers can focus on for a successful flexibility policy is building trust among their workforce, says Haggin.

"What we're really talking about here is businesses having the trust to say, here's your role, here's your job description, this is what we expect from you and now we trust you to go and get the work done," she says. "When companies are open to the idea of employees having family things they'd like to attend in the morning, or they want to be able to go to certain events that are in their personal life, it [helps people] not lose sight of why they're working."

Mental health
The survey showed insurance coverage was the most important aspect of mental health initiatives for all generations, with the exception of baby boomers, who placed a bigger emphasis on designated office mental wellness spaces, such as meditation rooms. Mental health workshops and a dedicated workplace counselor also ranked highly for Gen Z and millennials, as did access to mental health specialists such as therapists, counselors and psychiatrists.

"We spend a lot of time working, whether that's thinking about work or being at work, and it has a huge effect on our mental load and our mental health," Haggin says. "Businesses would benefit from doing the due diligence of figuring out what they can provide, and then asking their employees outright and getting their feedback and their buy-in to make sure that not only what they are providing will be used, but will be a part of the job satisfaction for their employees."

While the desire for professional development opportunities is no surprise among Gen Z and millennial employees, employers should also make sure they are offering these to Gen X and baby boomers within their workforce as well. The survey found that all generations place a high value on upskilling categories such as access to learning management systems, company-wide training from other departments and stipends for continued learning.

"Companies should request employee feedback to understand their upskilling needs," says Haggin. "For example, some employees hope to get on the management track while others prefer to grow as individual contributors. These feedback sessions can occur on a routine basis, whether quarterly or annually, and tailored programs can subsequently be created to address the upskilling goals of employees while balancing business needs."

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