SAN DIEGO -- A power struggle between generations is going on inside today’s workplaces. Benefits brokers need to understand how to deal with it in their own practices as well as guide their employer clients through it.
That’s the message that Cara Silletto, president and chief retention officer of Crescendo Strategies, delivered to attendees at the National Association of Health Underwriters annual convention.
Silletto spoke about “A New Perspective On Retaining Today’s New Workforce.”
With multiple generations occupying the workforce today, a power struggle is occurring while younger workers are increasing in numbers over their older counterparts, Silletto said. This evolution has been occurring since the Great Recession 10 years ago.
“The demographics of the workforce have changed,” she said. “Starting in 2020, the majority of the workforce will be millennials. Those under 40 years of age will outnumber those over 40 in the workplace.”
What this means is “there’s a power struggle currently happening. Those over 40 still hold most of the power in the organization,” she said.
Another change in the workplace is a different in the level of loyalty workers have toward their employers, Siletto said. “We often hear that younger workers have no loyalty when, in reality, the reasons people were loyal to an employer in the past are gone.” She cited vanishing private-sector pensions as one example.
“The employers changed that employer/employee relationship years ago, and it’s just now catching up with them in terms of the long-term benefits,” she said.
'A Better Life'
It’s important for employers to understand what motivates workers of all generations, and that the motivators of the past may not be relevant to today’s workers, Siletto said.
“For previous generations, many workers simply wanted to provide a better life for their families,” she said. “Men who were the breadwinners, their job was to work as hard as they could and earn as much money as they could to support their families.”
Today, with more women in the workforce, the workforce dynamics have changed in other ways, she said.
With both sets of parents in the workplace, today’s worker wants to have enough time to be present for their children and participate in their children’s activities. So working more than 50 hours a week is not acceptable to employees who are parents. “They don’t want to sacrifice time at home,” she said.
“It’s not that anyone has less of a work ethic, but they have shifted their priorities.”
This changing workforce demographic also affects the world of employee benefits.
“I believe that understanding one size no longer fits all is really critical for insurance providers, for these folks who are going out and seeing clients,” Siletto said. “Because their employer clients will want more options. They can’t offer the same thing for their baby boomer employees as they do for their millennial employees.”
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
© Entire contents copyright 2019 by InsuranceNewsNet.com Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted without the expressed written consent from InsuranceNewsNet.com.