BenefitsPro: Introducing Gen Z to their benefits package is vital to their health care success
In addition to warmer weather, summer also brings an influx of college and high school graduates entering the workforce. As current Gen Z graduates start their job search, HR teams and managers should take the time to prepare for these new hires.
Gen Z has grown up with a different mindset than prior generations. They are prioritizing their health and well-being and are not afraid to ask their employers for what they want. While enhanced benefits packages are appealing to Gen Z hires, HR teams should remember that the process of choosing a benefits package is a new experience for this group—and be prepared to educate their new employees on how to effectively choose and use their new coverages.
Benefits’ role in employees’ financial wellness
According to a recent study, 42% of employees feel that employers have a responsibility to help them improve and maintain their financial wellness. This same study showed that Gen Z (and Millennials) ranked are more likely than other generations to be interested in financial wellness resources—yet 40% of Gen Z did not want to disclose their finances to their employer (double that of other generations). This may partially explain why financial literacy is lowest amongst Gen Z, and 30% of Gen Z don’t feel financially secure, according to Deloitte’s Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey. Having learned little about financial wellness in school, Gen Z is turning to social media to learn about financial savviness and lessen some of their anxiety when it comes to their financial futures.
HR teams and managers can reduce this stress by implementing programs to help educate new hires to understand their benefits packages. This will not only arm Gen Z employees with the tools to better manage their finances but also allow them to feel more confident in their financial literacy. Setting Gen Z employees up for success early is crucial to having happy, healthy employees.
Making positive healthcare choices
Not knowing the ins and outs of their health plan can result in employees making choices that could cost them a lot of money down the line. Whether it’s choosing a plan with premiums, a deductible, or out-of-pockets costs they can’t afford, not understanding that preventive care is covered at no charge or obtaining care out of network.
According to a survey conducted by McKinsey, Gen Z respondents reported that they feel less in control of their health and lifespan, are less health-conscious, and less proactive about maintaining good health. This group is also prone to behavioral health issues yet are reluctant to discuss their concerns with their doctors. Showing Gen Z employees how they can access no-cost preventive care, confidential behavioral health support and options for getting care on their terms and on their schedule, can ensure young employees get the care they need on a cost-effective basis—and increase satisfaction with their coverage. This level of satisfaction is also instrumental in enhancing employee loyalty and productivity and reducing turnover.
Additionally, a survey from 2021 found that 50% of Gen Z respondents had previously been in debt because of medical bills, while 29% of Gen Z respondents are currently in medical debt. While lower than other generations, this is concerning given the percentage of Gen Z individuals who likely recently had coverage through their parents’ plans. Making sure new Gen Z hires understand the math behind choosing the right plan for them; the tax advantages of flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and health reimbursement accounts; understand how and why to find in-network doctors, and how to shop for healthcare treatments, procedures and services is essential to their financial planning and success. Making sure new, young employees are equipped to choose and use the best healthcare plan for their needs will steer them to make positive choices regarding their care.
How to keep the conversation going
While conversations about benefits are essential to any employee’s onboarding process, taking the time to walk Gen Z through their benefits package is crucial. Continuing and being open to these conversations year-round is vital to ensure messages are reinforced and employees are encouraged to—and supported as they do–use the benefits they’ve selected.
Providing a variety of resources such as a year-round interactive website providing descriptions of benefit programs, links to providers and the ability to request cost estimates; regular communications about available programs and partners, and access to a comprehensive benefits advocacy service can help reduce the stress associated with healthcare and help set Gen Z employees up to make the best decisions for themselves and their finances. And, Gen Z employees feel more confident knowing their employer cares about their overall well-being, increasing employees’ trust and job satisfaction.
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Kim Buckey is VP of Client Services at Optavise (formerly DirectPath).