reimagining benefits

Millennials’ Impact on Benefits

Generation Y and its 75 million set to make their mark on workplace

COLUMBIA, S.C., November 30, 2016 — Human resource professionals can strengthen employee recruitment and retention by reimagining workplace benefits through the lens of millennials, according to a new white paper released today by Colonial Life.

“Millennials Come of Age” uses industry and internal company research to illustrate the best strategies, communication tools and technology HR professionals can use to ensure their companies find and keep the best and brightest among the largest generation in U.S. history.

Start by flipping the lens

The first step in reimagining the 21st century workplace with millennials at the center may be to alter how benefits are positioned in the first place, according to the report. Insurance — whether medical and dental or life and disability — has long been considered a vital tool to protect America’s workers and their families from negative events that impact all of us.

Moving forward, benefits including insurance are best cast as an important piece of overall physical, emotional and financial health.

Rather than considering dental insurance as a way to protect themselves against tooth decay and high-priced dentist bills, millennials may be more willing to consider dental insurance as a way to stay healthy, according to the report. Rather than considering life insurance as a way to prevent their families from being left with burial costs, millennials may want to consider it a way to ensure their children’s college education is covered if a household income-earner dies.

“Our thinking needs to evolve,” said Stephen Bygott, vice president for marketing at Colonial Life. “For millennials, being healthy doesn’t just mean not feeling sick. It’s a commitment to an ongoing healthy approach to life, including eating habits, exercise and avoiding activities that can be viewed as damaging.”

Millennials are economically fragile

Millennials make up the most-concerned generation about building emergency funds, saving for large purchases, paying off education loans, maintaining a good credit score and following a monthly budget.i

At the same time, nearly one-third of millennials report having no savings set aside for emergencies or to cover their expenses if they are forced to miss work.

These life events are traditionally seen as drivers for insurance purchasing decisions...

Just 23 percent of Gen Xers and 18 percent of Baby Boomers have no savings.ii This lack of savings may be driving a delay in marriage, starting a family and home ownership. In 2010, 23 percent of Americans 18-31 were married and living in their own household, down from 43 percent in 1981 and 56 percent in 1968, the white paper says.iii

“These life events are traditionally seen as drivers for insurance purchasing decisions,” Bygott said. “When people get married, have a child or buy a home, they have more to protect or worry about.”

Today’s higher-deductible health plans may be attractive to millennials because premiums are lower. However, these plans can leave employees vulnerable to considerable financial risk.

Products such as disability insurance, critical illness insurance and accident insurance are built to allay those concerns and protect them and their households from financial risk.

To make benefits communication efforts for this audience as effective as possible, HR professionals should consider adopting tactics to better communicate to millennial employees using technology and multiple touchpoints.

To learn more, download a copy of “Millennials Come of Age” white paper at Colonial Life.




[i] U.S. Consumers Today: The Generations, LIMRA, 2014.
[ii] Colonial Life, 2014 Benefits Environment: The Employee Perspective.
[iii] A Rising Share of Young Adults Live in Their Parents’ Home, Pew Research Center, August 2013.
About Colonial Life
Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing financial protection benefits through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, dental, cancer, critical illness and hospital confinement indemnity insurance. The company’s benefit services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support 85,000 businesses and organizations, representing 3.5 million of America’s workers and their families. For more information visit here or connect with the company at facebook, twitter and linkedin. Colonial Life is a registered trademark and marketing brand of Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company.