How Millennials Killed Traditional Employee Benefits—And How Adapt

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Ah, millennials, everyone’s favorite generation. Known for ‘killing’ everything from chain restaurants to sliced American cheese, these pesky kids are at it again! This time, they are disrupting the way we think about and execute employee benefits. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Learn why as we explore how millennials are changing the way many organizations handle what is becoming an antiquated approach to employee benefits and HR.

Employee Benefits

With a record low unemployment rate, offering the bare minimum when it comes to benefits isn’t going to cut it with millennials, which currently represent the largest portion of the workforce.

In addition to health care options, which are still the most in-demand benefit, millennials appreciate and expect more comprehensive compensation packages.

As an experiential generation that values experiences over physical assets, paid time off and flexible work perks are becoming the norm. And, as millennials are setting down and starting families, better perks for parents are all the rage. Paid maternity and paternity leave, flexible return to work programs and childcare assistance are just a few examples of parental perks that are becoming more and more popular.

happy employee eating donut

Financial wellness benefits are also on the rise as millennials are dealing with the largest student loan debt crisis in history. Over 44 million Americans owe more than $1.56 trillion in student loan debt. This has led to the creation of niche companies like Tuition.io that are on a mission to disrupt employee benefits and provide a valuable service for employees.

These are just a few examples of employee benefits that millennials want. Think outside of the traditional benefits box when designing your compensation packages and add in a few creative and useful perks.

Paper Administration

Do your employees still enroll in benefits via manual forms? Do they have to spend time writing actual words on actual paper? *gasp*

We hate to break it to you, but that’s not going to fly with millennials. This tech-savvy generation prefers to spend their time perusing the interwebs and filling out forms digitally. Just how much time? A recent Nielsen report found that millennials spend over 6 hours per week on social media and over 27 hours per week consuming online media.

Providing an online experience for benefits administration and even general HR functions (requesting paid time off, communicating with HR, receiving and reviewing paystubs, etc.) is no longer ‘nice to have’ but rather an essential element to a modern HR experience.

And, regardless of the makeup of your workforce, manual, paper processes are becoming more hassle than they’re worth. This antiquated approach to benefits administration could be costing your company valuable time that could be spent on more strategic initiatives and put your company at risk for potential fines for errors or small details that slip through the cracks.

Mitigate these risks and provide a better employee experience across the board by upgrading to a digital benefits experience.

Health Care

Did you grow up with a primary care physician? Going to regularly scheduled annual check-ups? Well, this is yet another area where millennials are going against the status quo.

A recent report indicates that 45% of millennials do not have a primary care physician. Rather, millennials prefer on-demand health care options, like urgent care visits or telehealth options. Convenience is being prioritized over tradition as these options offer shorter wait times, immediate treatment and more affordable pricing.

doctor visit

The growth in urgent care reflects this trend, as the number of centers is projected to grow by 5.8% in the next year. And, doctor shortages only confirm the growth in wait times for diagnosis and treatment.

From an employer perspective, it’s important to understand this shift and make progressive changes to ensure your benefits plans meet the needs of millennials. HMOs, which often require selecting a primary care physician, are quickly becoming an antiquated approach to health care, while telehealth options are on the rise.

Whenever you do make changes, be sure you’re effectively communicating and educating your workforce on these updates. Clear communication will ensure that your benefits investments are actually being used.


Are you making any changes to your employee benefits or HR management strategy in 2019 to better meet the needs of millennials? Share your experiences in the comments below! 

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