OMG . . . Let Me Take a Selfie with That SPD!

By: Justin Held, CEBS,​ and Neil Mrkvicka​​​​​​

This week, the International Foundation is releasing Employee Benefits Survey: 2014, its fourth survey in the benchmarking series. As members of the Foundation’s Research Department, we enjoyed discussing the array of offerings included in the survey. Here’s what we think about the benefits most likely to attract millennials (the generation born after 1980) like us. We also have a few survey stats to share.

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Justin: 
I’m reviewing our latest Employee Benefits Survey. It looks like employers are getting creative in their efforts to attract and reta​in workers.



Neil: 
Some of these look like pretty attractive perks. What are some of the benefits that would attract you most? Retirement plans are always a big thing for employers but I feel like they could be done better . . . 



Justin: 
Being relatively new to the workforce, I’m still learning the ropes regarding retirement options​. It would be great to be enrolled in a defined benefit plan long-term, but that is becoming less common. At this point, I would love auto-enrollment into a defined contribution option that fits my needs, like a target-date fund.

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Neil: 
Agreed, and any plan with portability and early vesting is going to be attractive to me. Like most of my friends, I don’t really know how long I’ll stick around my job or even my current field, but I do know I’m not waiting around for golden handcuffsYOLO.

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Justin: 
Any financial education​ regarding retirement would be helpfulideally the information would speak to our generation’s needs.
How much should I save​? Which loans should I pay off first?



Neil: 
Yeah, I know about the plan match and I get that compounding is important, but I’ve never been given a rule of thumb for saving for a car or house or paying off student loans, etc., vs. saving more for retirement. After the plan match and the monthly debt payments, where should I go with any excess savings?



Justin: 
Absolutely. I was able to pay off my student loans, but that was a huge burden while starting my career. If a company would pick up that tab or loan me money to do so . . . I’d work my tail off for that. I’d also be attracted to an organization with financial benefits for any future education. I would love knowing that those costs would not impede my tentative desires to go back to school.

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Neil: 
That’d be nice, but I’m too excited to be done with school. What I’m looking for is more growth and career development opportunities. I’m okay waiting my turn, but there needs to be some light at the end of the tunnel . . . so any type of career counseling or mentoring would be nice.

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Justin: Not just care about me . . . but also possess a passion for the broader community. Any company that gets involved in volunteer opportunities or charity programs would be attractive. It also looks like some organizations offer hybrid vehicle subsidies.

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Neil: We haven’t even discussed health care!

Justin: I’m
always told that our generation feels it’s invincible. But, honestly, I’m healthy, and a high-deductible plan would be great for me. I rarely go to the doctor.

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Neil: I more just want to know that I’ll be taken care of if some unlucky event happens . . . whatever plan it is. But what I’m really interested in is the range of different
wellness initiatives employers are now offering. Participation in sports leagues and on-site fitness centers would be pretty cool perks.

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Justin: ​Any on-site equipment or offerings would be extremely beneficialanything to make life more convenient and free up some time. I also feel I could do a portion of my job away from the office, so flex-time or telecommuting would be great.

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Neil: Yeah, I’m looking to start a family soon—It’s both exciting and daunting to think about. Anything to increase flexibility in the workday or any leave benefits beyond the normal FMLA would likely increase my loyalty.

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Justin: Very cool! It sounds like your priorities might be changing pretty soon . . . possibly your benefits priorities will change?

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Neil: Possibly, ha ha. But kids or not, I plan to always fit the Gen Y hipster stereotype, so I need a casual dress code that doesn’t cramp my normcore style.

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Justin: Yeah, and I actually fit our generation’s tech-savvy and tech-dependent stereotype, so any subsidized gadgets/cell phones/devices would be awesome.

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Find more information on the newly released Employ​ee Benefits Survey: 2014. And stay tuned for more special reports from the Employee Benefits Survey here on the Word on Benefits​!

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