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Published: 7 month

Generation X workers want special benefits and are increasingly getting them

Workers caring for ageing parents and raising children at the same time want very different benefits from a young person in their twenties. But how can companies help those born between 1965 and 1980 and how can they benefit in the long term?

Az X generációs munkavállalók speciális juttatásokra vágynak, és egyre több helyen meg is kapják azokat-

Middle-aged workers claim benefits such as old-age care allowance, health screening, menopause allowance and the like. More and more people are getting them, and employers are benefiting, says BBC.

Generation X is at a crossroads. Wedged between the Baby Boomers and millennials, this generation is at the ‗sandwich' stage of life. They are largely responsible for caring for their ageing parents and looking after their school-age children, while also managing their own lives, careers and health. If companies want to retain their Generation X workers, broadly defined as those born between 1965 and 1980, they must respond to these challenges. That is why more and more companies around the world are introducing benefits that are tailored to the health and lifestyle of middle-aged people. In a tight labour market, employers offering personalised benefits stand out from the rest.

A sense of support and improved performance

Cloud software company Salesforce recently introduced a senior care benefit for employees caring for older family members, as well as early cancer detection programs for the over-50s. The Adobe software company also offers services to help employees manage the college admissions process for their children, as well as consultations on elder care and home care. Menopause support services also appear in a number of global companies, large and small.

"The benefits of such services go beyond economics," says Peter Bamberger, a professor at the Coller School of Management at Tel Aviv University. We are talking about services that can have a direct impact on the children and parents of the worker. Companies are not just providing financial assistance, they are building a strong emotional connection - showing that they care about their employees.\" The programs are relatively cost-effective. Research shows that benefits tailored to employees' needs can also have an impact on employee retention and performance. A Gartner survey last year, reported by the BBC, found that a well thought-out benefits strategy can increase employees' willingness to stay by 11% and boost performance by 12%.

"Employers are aware that finding a specialist or suitable residential care facility for their elderly parents is a time-consuming and emotionally difficult task," says Bamberger. \"Companies are aware that this takes time out of the workday, and if they can help their employees with this, they will be more present during their workday and more able to concentrate"

There are five generations in the workforce, so benefits are no longer a one-size-fits-all solution for all ages. Employers are increasingly looking to adapt to the changing needs of their employees as they progress through their lives and careers, says Lauren Winans, CEO of Next Level Benefits, a Pennsylvania, US-based HR consulting firm. \"Companies look at the demographics of their workforce and ask: Where is this person in their life? What are they facing? How can we invest our benefits dollars in a targeted way?"

One of the most popular new benefits is the menopause benefit. Menopause is a challenge not only for workers but also for employers; according to a Mayo Clinic study published in April, menopausal symptoms cause about $1.8 billion (£1.42 billion) in lost work time each year. Earlier this year, US biotech company Genentech introduced menopause-specific benefits for 13 500 of its employees and their spouses or partners at the request of an employee group. The benefit includes access to on-demand video meetings with clinicians, courses on managing menopause symptoms and referrals to personal care providers.

Fifty-four percent of Genentech's employees are women, and the average age of employees is 45. \"It's likely that many of our employees will experience menopause while working here, and we want them to have easy access to care," said Cori Davis, the company's human resources manager. Scott Floyd, Cisco's global benefits manager, said the communications company launched the concierge care benefit this year to help care for an elderly parent, a child with special needs. The benefit was introduced after a quarterly survey in June showed that many employees, particularly women in caregiving roles, felt overworked. Generation X women were the most affected.

Generation X workers want special benefits, and more and more are getting them

photo: unsplash

You need to be able to rest

"It was clear that the leaders and caregivers - the sandwich generation - needed more support," Floyd says. The company also has an additional benefit to help employees find and hire a home caregiver for an adult family member."The benefits are both tangible support and psychologically important," says Carol Kulik, a professor of human resource management at the University of South Australia. \"They show that the employer cares about you and your skills, and that they value you as a person.\"Research shows that this is true even for benefits that employees don't necessarily take. For example, Kulik says, employees may not need a particular benefit right away, but realize they may need it in the near future.

"Around the age of 50, people start to show signs of physical decline - it's often not catastrophic, it's manageable - but the person realizes that life is finite," Kulik says. That's why benefits such as so-called "grandparental leave,‖ which allow workers to take time off to support and care for their grandchildren, and programs offered by CVS that allow workers to commute seasonally between two locations and test retirement, will be popular with this age group. It is no coincidence that companies are introducing these new benefits now. Amid the uncertain economic climate, companies are under pressure to better allocate resources strategically, says Winans, a benefits consultant.

"I've worked in corporate benefits administration for two decades, and I have to say: menopausal benefits - I never thought I'd see something like this. It's exciting that no matter where you are in your life, there will be a new benefit that you can access," says Winans.


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