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Disconnect Between Employers and Employees on Lifestyle Benefits Highlights Communication Gap

Analysis  |  By HR Daily Advisor  
   August 30, 2023

Employers that go through the time, cost, and effort to develop and offer lifestyle benefits for their employees should ensure they're also properly communicating with employees.

This article was first published on August 30, 2023, by HR Daily Advisor, a sibling publication to HealthLeaders.

Employers and employees are increasingly appreciating the value of nonsalary compensation like employee benefits. When most people think of benefits, they probably think of health insurance, which is an extremely important benefit. But when virtually all employers offer certain foundational benefits, others try to differentiate themselves by offering premium benefits that support employees’ varied lifestyles.

The Employee/Employer Benefit Disconnect

While ambitious employers often spend large amounts of time, money, and other resources on premium benefits, they often miss the mark when it comes to satisfying employees.

New data released by software-as-a-service (SaaS) benefits and solutions provider Alegeus points to disconnects and potential miscommunication between employers and employees. These disconnects can result in significant sums of money being spent on programs employees aren’t even aware of and employees’ growing resentful at a perceived lack of benefits.

Lack of Awareness Drives Discontent

For example, the Alegeus survey found that employees are often unaware of whether their employer offers lifestyle benefits at all, let alone what the associated budget is. It indicates that 30% of respondents are unsure of the dollar amount their employers offer in lifestyle benefits, and only 10% believe their employer allots more than $2,000 annually to lifestyle benefits.

The fact that so many employees aren’t even aware of whether their employer offers benefits suggests some employers are failing to adequately communicate available benefits. 

For their part, employers aren’t always cognizant of their employees’ preferences on lifestyle benefits. It’s important to note that there are meaningful generational differences in how employees value lifestyle benefits, and employers that try a one-size-fits-all approach are likely to alienate at least one generational cohort who feels their preferences aren’t being considered.

Generational Differences

According to Alegeus, “Baby Boomers and Generation Xers both agree that work-from-home and food support are high priorities, while Millennials favored family care and healthy living perks. On the other hand, the Silent Generation prioritized food and leisure/hobbies for lifestyle perks and Generation Zs ranked food and family care on top.”

Alegeus goes on to note that, when it comes to generational differences, millennials were most likely to agree that their perks were fully aligned with their lifestyles, while baby boomers and Generation X said their perks didn’t align with their lifestyles.

Employers that go through the time, cost, and effort to develop and offer lifestyle benefits for their employees should ensure they’re properly communicating with employees, both to better understand what benefits they’re interested in and to ensure they’re aware of the available options.

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