Partnering with a more human resource

Can companies deliver benefits for an age-diverse workforce?

Posted by: on 27 April 2017 in Benefits

Employees are individuals first, with different values and expectations in terms of professional career and private life. The days of offering a company car or a performance bonus are long gone for many reasons. Even if you could afford to, not all employees would want the car (“I would be happy with an eco-electric bike please”); while health and wellbeing options could in fact boost motivation and performance, almost as much as a bonus.

One of the most daunting challenges employers face is how to manage an age-diverse workforce. And nowhere is this shown more clearly than in benefits packages.

The list of benefits that employees are demanding is getting longer and longer, and employers can’t keep up. As the number of Generation Z employees (born 1995 or later) entering the workforce grows and Millennials (born 1981 or later) move into leadership roles, employers must offer benefits that suit differing tastes. According to a survey conducted by Baidu Tieba and, Post-90s/95s Chinese prefer “soft benefits” such as flexible working hours, annual leave, shuttle bus etc. compared to previous generations. 64% of Post-90s care more about the soft benefits a company can offer when choosing an employer, among which flexible working hours is ranked No.1 (35%), and annual leave is ranked No. 2(32%).

For Chinese young people who just start their career, the extremely high property price in tier one cities is one of their biggest headaches if they have the plan to purchase one. In 2011, Tencent – the technology conglomerate – began to provide no interest housing loans to employees, which initiative is later followed by a lot of other internet companies in China. Interestingly, the housing plan Tencent offers is only available for junior staff, manager and expert level above employees are not eligible for the program. Internet companies typically employ a young workforce, and the benefits such as no interest housing loans are intentionally designed for those who just start their career and somehow have the desire to purchase their first property. For Tencent employees who successfully got the no interest housing loan from 2011 to 2014, the turnover rate is reported to be 1.4%, well below the industry average.

On the other hand, Post-60s and 70s have worked for more years and are often in a better economic status, what they expect from an employer are more about job stability and benefits such as stock options, supplementary pensions. Every successful company needs to create an effective benefits policy with economy of scale wherever possible; yet employees and managers are demanding a more personalized benefits structure that meets their needs as an individual. And as we all know, with Millennials a good benefits policy is vital to attract them and keep them happy.

Simply providing a long list of benefits to try and please everybody means that you’re setting yourself up for an admin nightmare, especially if you don’t have the software and logistical support to back it up. Instead, you need to automate and integrate your benefits administration within a safe and centralized digital environment. It’s a skill that most employers are just not trained for.

Take commission-based pay. It’s one of the easiest benefits to understand – if you meet your targets, you are rewarded accordingly. However, a survey of sales directors found that companies are losing large sums of money due to woeful in-house processes.1 Almost a quarter of companies surveyed said they regularly saw errors of over 10% of the total commission paid, 20% said they didn’t even know what errors occurred, and over 52% admitted they regularly had to deal with queries and complaints from the sales force. So what’s supposed to be a benefit ends up being costly, hard to keep track of, and has employees from different generations complaining about it!

A harmonized benefits process instead looks the same, works the same, and can be easily accessed across your whole business by employees and managers. And it has become an absolute necessity!

A single software solution can streamline employee eligibility, benefit calculation, communication, and workflow management, within a safe and centralized digital environment.

This not only makes for happier employees, but also frees up HR and IT teams from the burden of complex administration. When employees take control of their benefits they are actually doing the boring admin work for you, and at the same time feeling empowered to directly engage with their benefits in their own time, using the same technology that they have at home. While offering choice and control send the message to employees that the company listens to them and recognizes their needs.

We know that young employees (and even more often the senior ones!) increasingly want to take control of their benefits. They want a menu of benefits options tailored to meet their needs and life stages, and they want to be able to access them on the mobile and tablet, wherever they are, whenever they need to.

Using the cloud to centralize those benefits is therefore a business priority now. Outsourcing with an expert partner allows your business to bundle everything into a centralized digital environment that’s safe and secure, giving you access to global and local 24/7 support. Cloud-based consolidation is the industry standard for HR administration now. It offers consistent user interfaces, well-protected data, reliable auditing and reporting – all delivered through a single solution and a point of contact.

  1. Vanson Bourne OpenSymmetry (2014), Commission Survey
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TAGS: benefits administration benefits for an age-diverse workforce cloud technology flexible benefits millennials post-90s workforce management

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