Behind the Benefits: The 2020 Vision of What Employers Really Want

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What your employees want from their benefits program may actually be different than what you think they want.  In mid-2019 we embarked on a journey to find the answers through a dual survey (one with employers and one with employees) with well over 250 companies in the NYC metro and SF Bay areas. 

The time to update your benefits offerings is not after your top performing employees have left for more generous opportunities. Staying ahead of the trends allows employers to attract and retain their top talent and avoid costly onboarding and training expenses.

Here’s What We Found:

The members we surveyed fell into one of three generational cohorts: Baby Boomers (ages 55-73), Generation X (ages 39-54), and Millennials (ages 23-39). Understanding the upbringing, current standing, and values of each of these generations is key to understanding what they are looking to get out of life and a career.

Generation B: Baby Boomers – Employee Survey Highlights

Born in the year 1946 – 1964

Generational Traits:

  • Employer Loyalty – I could work my way to the top!
  • Training – Tell me what to do.
  • Elder Respect – Automatic.
  • Change – Dislike.
  • Communication – Land line.
  • Tech – Ignorant.
  • Government – They aren’t trusting.

Employee Benefits Satisfaction – 3.5 / 5

  • Most Valued Benefit – Medical Health Insurance
  • Top 3 Desired Benefits (participants were allowed to select more than one category):
    • 50% Conferences & Professional Development
    • 50% Unlimited Time Off
    • 25% Financial Planning Services

Generation X – Employee Survey Highlights

Born in the year 1965 – 1980

Generational Traits:

  • Employer Loyalty – I’ll work if I have to.
  • Training –  Show me HOW to do it.
  • Elder Respect – Polite.
  • Change – Accepting.
  • Communication – Cell phone.
  • Tech – Comfortable.
  • Government – They are skeptical.

Employee Benefits Satisfaction – 3.3 / 5

  • Most Valued Benefit – Medical Health Insurance
  • Top 3 Desired Benefits (participants were allowed to select more than one category):
    • 53% Unlimited Time Off
    • 46% Tuition Reimbursement, Conferences or Professional Development.
    • 40% Childcare services.

Generation Y – Millennials – Employee Survey Highlights

Born in the year 1980-1996

Generational Traits:

  • Employer Loyalty – Jobs are a dime a dozen.
  • Training –  WHY do I need to learn this?
  • Elder Respect – Must be earned.
  • Change – Demand it!
  • Communication – Text/Tweet.
  • Tech – Masters.
  • Government – They are distrusting.

Employee Benefits Satisfaction – 3.4 / 5

  • Most Valued Benefit – Flex time / Paid time off
  • Top 3 Desired Benefits (participants were allowed to select more than one category):
    • 45% Unlimited time off.
    • 45% College loan repayment.
    • 35% Tuition Reimbursement or Continuing Education.


Employee – +50% of the three generations top desired benefit is Unlimited Paid Time Off


Employer – Less than 1% plan on offering Unlimited Paid Time Off as a benefit in the next year


Employee – 40% of Gen X want Childcare as a benefits


Employer – Only 3% of employers offer Childcare as a benefit


Employee – 45% of Millennials want College Loan Repayment as a benefit


Employer – Only 14% of employers offer College Loan Repayment as a benefit


Employee – 25% of Baby Boomers want Financial Planning Services as a benefit


Employer – 22% of employers offer Financial Planning Services

Benefits trends are constantly evolving, and it is apparent that the most successful companies are forward thinking when it comes to their offerings and improving employee satisfaction. Formulating a benefits program that appeals to a diverse audience and provides incentive to complete quality work can give any business a competitive edge. In addition, the investment in your employees can reduce turnover and as a result, reduce onboarding expenses that can ultimately be more expensive than a benefits package.

As a new generation enters the workforce, it’s impossible to anticipate the new expectations they will create and set in their work environments. No matter what new insights and ideas they bring to the HR landscape, by understanding historical trends, employers can anticipate continued change in employee expectations surrounding technology, social norms, and innovation.

To read the complete report on the findings from our survey please click here.

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