The Future of Work – Part 2: Benefits Solutions for Multi-Generational Workplaces

Published: May 07 | 2019
Modified: Jul 30 | 2019

Last week we talked about the five different generations in today’s workforce with an emphasis on helping employers begin to recognize the different generations and finding the “why” behind their benefits plan. (If you haven’t read The Future of Work – Part 1 yet, we would recommend that you do so now). With what we learned last week in mind, we’re going to take a deeper dive and discuss the big question:

“How can employers possibly provide and pay for benefits that meet everyone’s needs?”

The Power of Choice in a Multi-Generational Workplace

When it comes to providing benefits that work for everyone, there’s one thing that should be at the forefront of your decision, and it’s not cost (though that’s still important) – it’s choice.

We like to use our own benefits plan as an example. We used to offer a $200 vision care benefit to our 90+ employees across Canada, but since only approximately 50% of employees wear glasses or contacts, half of our staff were paying premiums for a benefit they would never use.

So then we did something crazy (at least at the time) – we removed our vision care benefit entirely and instead offered a $200 Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) to all employees in its place. This gave employees the choice of what to use their $200 on; those who needed a new pair of glasses could buy them, but other employees could choose to cover extra dental costs or paramedical expenses.

Since then, we’ve seen the importance of providing additional flexibility and choice to our employees and have increased the HCSA allotment from $200 to $500.

Establishing Priorities: What to Insure vs. What Not to Insure

Now, this part will very much depend on the “why” you discovered in Part 1 of this blog series, but this is a shifting trend we’ve taken note of the past few years. Let’s simplify things and break insurance into two parts: “True Insurance” and “Ancillary Insurance”.

True Insurance – true insurance covers those high-cost claims with a low probability of occurrence (consider options like Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance, Long-Term Disability, or high-cost drugs). These are instances where, without coverage, employees could be left at significant financial risk.

BBD product example: Benaccount®

Ancillary Insurance – what we’re calling “ancillary” insurance covers low-cost claims with a high probability of occurrence, and are generally those nice-to-have perks like massage and other paramedicals, vision care, dental, and more. These are instances where, without coverage, employees might have to pay more out-of-pocket, but aren’t protected from unforeseen, catastrophic circumstances like loss of life, limb or mobility.

BBD product example: Standalone® or Benepac®

One option is not better than the other – it all depends on your benefits philosophy. Both options have merit, and in fact, a combination of both types of Insurance is often the best option to provide coverage for everyone – but not all employers have the budget for that.

If the “why” behind your benefits plan is to protect employees from catastrophic events, true insurance is a viable option.

If the “why” behind your benefits plan is to attract and retain employees, ancillary insurance may be best.

Putting it All Together

To wrap up, let’s take what we’ve covered from Parts 1 and 2 and summarize them for the key takeaways:

From The Future of Work, Part 1:

  1. Evaluate your demographics and identify wants and needs. What does your workforce look like? What do your employees want from their benefits plan?
  2. Find your benefits philosophy or your “why” and go from there. This will make selecting benefits options easier and increase the likelihood of selecting something that works.

From the Future of Work, Part 2:

  1. Consider aspects of choice through an HCSA or WSA as an option to appeal to multiple generations and give them the power to choose how they use their dollars.
  2. Use your knowledge of your benefits philosophy to decide if you want to focus on “true insurance” or “ancillary insurance” or (ideally) a combination of the two.
  3. Consider flexible options that fit with your “why” like Standalone® or Benepac® for those combinations of true/ancillary insurance, or Benaccount® for “true insurance”.

Missed Part 1 of this “Future of Work” series? Check it out here!

Read Part 1