401(k) vs. Que Sera, Sera
Bruce Finley is a Senior Partner and the Director of Global Workplace Communication at Mercer.
Bruce Finley: Younger workers' expectations for communication are at an all-time high. They expect to be communicated to immediately and transparently because that’s what they get when they communicate among themselves. The challenge for a company is, how do we engage in that new world? How do we socially engage with all the people who are there? So, there’s that level that requires transparency on a level that we’ve never had to deliver in the past.
When young people think about benefits, first of all, they often don’t. I mean, when you think about saving for retirement, it doesn’t really relate too much when you’re just starting out. We’re seeing some of those things change, though, and particularly in the health area. Having access to some kind of protection from your employer is really important to people, and that’s true of young people as well.
As employers. you’re probably asking your people to get more involved in their benefits. But when you think about it, traditional pension plans were created and delivered to people without any action that they had to do themselves. Today, because we have defined contribution schemes - schemes that encourage 401(k) plans that require people to understand whether they’re going to contribute, how much they’re going to contribute - they have to be more involved. And it’s still a little bit alien to young people.
They have a lot of conflicting demands for their money. Let’s face it: they aren’t necessarily the highest paid people in the organization. And so if they were able to start saving for their retirement when they’re really young, through the power of compounding is going to build up to their advantage in the best possible way. But it’s hard for them to do that because they’re so – there’s so many other things that they have that they’re already responsible for. For example, they might be paying off college loans; they have to pay the high cost of just living today.
So getting people to understand benefits, but even more so to participate as early as possible and get involved, it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge for every one of you when you think about communicating with your young people.
Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd
For Bruce Finley, the benefits discussion is a major (and often lost) opportunity for companies to reach young workers in a meaningful way, getting them more deeply invested in their careers and their futures.
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