multi-generational people talking

How are generational trends reshaping the employee benefits landscape?

Proprietary research from Voya’s Consumer Insights & Research Team

Workplace benefits strategies are changing in response to the evolving expectations of today’s workforce. Employers are facing a unique challenge when seeking to design a benefits program that addresses the demands of a multi-generational employee population. Voya’s new market research offers a unique perspective on how employee values and expectations vary from one generation to the next.

The "I want it all" Millennials

Born between: 1981 and 1996
Mindset: Idealistic
Benefit knowledge: Low


Millennials value breadth most when it comes to employer benefits packages, and have...

  • High expectations: They want packages that offer a wide range of high-quality benefits.
  • Less technical knowledge: They are more likely to assess their benefits package relative to broader, abstract categories, such as “How happy will it make me?” or “total cost.”

Millennials value flexibility more than any other generation and desire...

  • Flexible offerings: They consider these benefits (remote capabilities, paid time off, etc.) a key indicator of workplace culture.
  • Work-life balance: They feel that an employer that has a positive attitude toward time off is just as important as how their employer treats them at work.

Millennials value unique benefit solutions that align with their specific needs and appreciate...

  • Tailored benefits: They want a wide array of benefits options that will respond to their evolving life circumstances. This leads them to seek out benefits like critical illness coverage, employee hardship assistance, and caregiving solutions more than other generations.

The "balanced" Generation X-ers

Born between: 1965 and 1980
Mindset: Balanced
Benefit knowledge: Medium


Gen-Xers have a solid understanding of their needs and responsibilities, in addition to...

  • High technical and financial knowledge: They can navigate the sophisticated nature and technical details of a benefits package to determine what is most valuable.
  • Informed perspectives: They can more easily evaluate and prioritize a group of benefits, based on what’s most relevant and valuable to them personally. Ultimately, it is this understanding and added context that allows this generation to make more informed benefits decisions.

Gen-Xers are cost-conscious and motivated to...

  • Utilize the full employer match: They consider an employer’s offer to match their retirement contribution, up to a given amount, a “must have” when taking a new job
  • Maximize healthcare coverage: They are attracted to employers that offer a variety of health benefits that will aid in balancing insurance and out-of-pocket costs.

Gen-Xers value “disconnecting,” which means they...

  • Prioritize paid time off: They would rather completely disconnect from the stress of work than have the perks of an adaptable workday. They want paid time off, vacations and sick time to be made available by their employer.

The "security-seeking" Baby Boomers

Born between: 1946 and 1964
Mindset: Realistic
Benefit knowledge: High


Baby boomers prioritize retirement security and tend to be most focused on...

  • Cost-effective solutions: They are able to leverage a "standard" benefits package most, because of their realistic expectations and how close they are to retirement. They specifically desire affordable coverage that will help them protect and grow their retirement savings.
  • Maximizing retirement income: They are highly motivated to increase their savings rate and make catch-up contributions to reach retirement readiness.

Baby boomers expect benefits that provide...

  • Freedom and peace of mind: They feel their in-depth experience has earned them the right to more freedom and flexibility at work. Unlike Millennials, workplace culture is not a top priority. They find benefits that enhance their sense of freedom – such as generous paid time off packages and the ability to work remotely – most valuable.

Maximize desired outcomes by modernizing your benefits offering

Employers are finding themselves in an "arms race" to design a benefits package that optimally improves employee satisfaction and wellness – physical, emotional and financial – within a given budget. Understanding the needs of your unique employee populations may enable you to get more value out of your benefits offering today and in the future.

What does this mean to you? Connect with your Voya Relationship Manager to discuss generational trends within your workforce and discover opportunities to further optimize your existing benefits package.

Source: Voya leveraged its proprietary research platform, the Online Consumer Community, a private digital space where a targeted group of consumers has been recruited to participate in research-related activities over an extended period of time. Voya has 400 consumers in the Online Consumer Community, balanced by age, gender and U.S. Census region. Through this research platform, Voya executed an online discussion / survey with n=93 consumers (including: n=27 Millennials; n=34 GenXers; n=32 Boomers) in February 2019. Participants contributed their thoughts and views on the value and importance of specific workplace benefits. Products and services offered through the Voya® family of companies.