Four generations, four learning styles

Today, there are four generations in the workplace. All need to be fully informed about their current employee benefit options.

Universally, all four generations are looking for a simple enrollment process to learn about their employers’ nonmedical benefit offerings.1 But a “simple process” means different things to different generations. Take a look at how each generation prefers to learn about benefits.

Traditionalists (Born before 1945)

Those employees who continue to work past the normal retirement age exemplify traditional values such as discipline, hard work, commitment and responsibility. When it comes to communicating about benefits, they often prefer:

  • Printed fliers and enrollment forms
  • Face-to-face communications that build a trusted relationship
  • A detailed, comprehensive approach

Baby boomers (1946–1964)

Although more than 10,000 baby boomers retire every day2  they remain a significant part of the working population. They’ve seen a lot of change over the years, and they’re open to newer technological developments. A mix of communication approaches may best fulfill their needs:

  • In-person and phone options for getting questions answered
  • Easy-to-scan memos and bulleted lists that highlight important details
  • Webinars, videos and the Internet

Generation X (1965–1981)

This generation isn’t afraid of new technology or gadgets, and they want the opportunity to give and get feedback. They’re looking for communication that is short, to-the-point, and easily accessible. The best communication approach includes:

  • Email, with an opportunity to respond and ask questions via this method
  • Internet links and online enrollment
  • A visual emphasis that highlights the details
  • Web tools such as tutorials and calculators

Millennials (1982–2000)

Smart phones and social media are an essential part of everyday life for this generation. They expect to do research and comparison shop on the web. They’re used to quick, easy and customizable options. Technology can help them jump in and interact with the process:

  • Mobile smartphone apps that provide information as well as easy enrollment
  • Social media, texting, QR codes and IM for two-way communication
  • Short, quick emails to bring them up to date

      
1
Special Report: Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction (M.O.O.D.) of America on Employee Benefits, Lincoln Financial Group, 2016
2 “Baby Boomers Retire,” Pew Research Center. http://www.pewresearch.org/daily-number/baby-boomers-retire/

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