Employers who want to attract, engage, and retain the Generation Y workforce need to understand its preferences and communication styles when it comes to workplace benefits.

That's the finding of a white paper released by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Co, which outlines what employers should know about the benefits needs of Gen Y.

Gen Y has different expectations than previous generations, so companies need to take a different approach when it comes to designing and communicating their benefits packages, says Colonial. Those who don't consider changes could risk losing their competitive edge and may be left behind.

Key information in the white paper for employers and human resource managers:

  • Gen Y tends to be less financially stable than other generations. Only 58% pay their bills on time, 43% have high credit card debt and 70% aren't building a cash cushion for emergencies. They also tend to change jobs frequently; the average 26-year-old has already had seven jobs.
  • Gen Y puts great value on a strong benefits package, yet is woefully underinsured. Sixty percent of Gen Y workers list benefits as the second most important aspect for job satisfaction. However, Gen Y is the least likely working group to take advantage of workplace insurance, from major medical plans to voluntary coverage such as life, disability and accident insurance.
  • Gen Y seems to prefer personal communication as the primary source of benefits information. Despite their "constantly wired" reputation, Gen Y employees don't use online resources such as forms or blogs any more than other workers do. And they're significantly more likely than other workers to turn to a family member or friend for information.

Gen Y workers give employers low marks for the effectiveness of their benefits communication, says Colonial, and women in particular are much more likely to say the communication they receive about their benefits is not at all informative, including cost, what's covered, and what they need.

The white paper offers employers some tips for better communication:

  • Implement one-to-one counseling
  • Use appropriate technology for the message
  • Employ multiple communication methods
  • Make content more interactive

As benefits decision-making continues to shift more toward employees, Gen Y will become more eager for the products and information they need to manage their financial security, says Colonial. Employers have a tremendous opportunity right now to create a greater return on investment by evaluating their benefits offerings and communication methods to appeal to Gen Y. The result will be a more loyal, engaged and productive workforce.

For the complete white paper: http://www.coloniallife.com/Newsroom/WhitePapers.aspx

Improve Your Benefits Communication to Gen Y Employees

Preferred CBIA Member Discounts vendor offers discounts on employee benefits statements. More