How to Get Gen Z to Fall in Love with Benefits

Two women high-fiving in the office

This time of year is all about love. While you don’t really hear too many love stories about the workplace, it’s time to change that -- when it comes to benefits, of course.

Getting your employees to fall in love with benefits can sometimes be a challenge. This is especially the case for employers with a largely Gen Z population. This generation is unique and unlike previous generations, with an entirely different outlook towards the workplace and benefits.

It’s important to understand this generation and what they are looking for from their employers, so you can craft a benefits package they will fall in love with.


Understanding Gen Z

“Generation Z” (Gen Z, for short) is the generation born between 1996 to 2009. These individuals have experienced a drastically different upbringing from generations past, both good and bad.

Gen Z is unofficially labeled as the first generation to not know a world before the September 11th attacks; therefore, the War on Terror has been the norm for them. They’ve experienced a higher level of school shootings, economic recession, and violence than most other generations.

However, they are also the most diverse and technologically proficient generation yet. As they are beginning to graduate college and start their careers, Gen Z is expected to account for 36% of the workforce this year. To help human resource professionals become familiar with Gen Z, the Society for Human Resource Management put together a few traits you should know about this upcoming generation:

  • They are accustomed to immediate feedback.
  • They share more beliefs with Gen X (like skepticism and individuality) than with Millennials.
  • They place high importance on compensation and benefits in the workplace.
  • They have an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • They are highly connected and have always had technology in their lives, yet they prefer independent work and crave face-to-face human interaction.
  • They embrace change, but want a voice in said change.

As more and more Gen Zers enter the workforce, it’s important to understand this generation and what type of workplace benefits they are looking for, and in the way that works best for them.


How to get Gen Z to fall in love with benefits

Having your Gen Z employees engaged with their benefits package is crucial. Since these individuals are the newest members of the workforce, they are looking to settle into careers and potentially find their long-term companies. Offering a benefits package that speaks to them and the way they work will increase retention and lead to a more productive Gen Z workforce -- AKA the future of your company.


Here are a few ways to get your Gen Z employees to fall in love with their benefits:

  1. Give them a voice and individuality in their benefits package

Gen Z values having their voices heard and having personalized options in the workplace. Employers can work this into their benefits package by utilizing the right technology. Benefits administration technology that features self-enrollment and decision-support tools gives employees the freedom to choose benefits that best fit their lives, with help available if they need it. Employers can have a wide range of options and let employees choose their own voluntary benefits package.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of a simple conversation. Ask your Gen Z employees what benefits are important to them during the onboarding process. If they see them reflected in your offerings, they will feel like their voices were heard.

  1. Offer benefits that help with finances

A Business Insider survey found that 10% of Gen Zers named debt as the top concern that their generation will face. Majority of that debt is coming from student loans. Employers can offer student loan repayment programs (with or without employer contributions) that can help employees pay off student loans while accruing the least amount of interest possible. CNBC reported that 80% of workers with student loans would value working for a company that offered that.

Other helpful financial benefits include:

  • Bringing in a financial planner to speak with employees and give them resources for saving and investing money.
  • Provide online services to help employees manage their finances.
  • Offer HSAs and FSAs to help employees with out-of-pocket expenses.
  1. Offer the flexibility to pursue passions

Since Gen Z is entrepreneurial in nature, they’re often going to have passion projects or hobbies that they would like to dedicate time to. Benefits like flexible schedules and telecommuting give your employees more time to continue their education or partake in hobbies and projects on their own.

This is also one of the most socially-minded generation yet. Studies show that nearly half of Gen Zers want to volunteer. Unfortunately, time constraints seem to be the biggest barrier. Offering paid time off for volunteering can help your Gen Z employees fulfill their passions, which allows them to come to work with a more positive outlook and be more engaged in their day-to-day tasks.