Published: 20th July 2023
Employee Experience Series: Welcoming the Younger Generation to the Workplace
There’s much debate about the pros and cons of a local vs. global benefits offering, with many organisations believing a global solution is best for their business. During this blog, we’ll explore why a local or UK-specific approach may better support your employees, especially when we focus on the younger generations joining the workforce.
Saturday, 15th July was World Youth Skills Day. Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2014, it celebrates the importance of “equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.” United Nations
Since the younger generation is preparing to enter the workforce, we have to ask: does your employee engagement and people strategy cater to their needs?
In our blog, Bridging the Generational Divide in the Workplace, we discuss the needs of the four generations now working side by side. Here, we’re focusing specifically on the younger generations, also known as the workforce of tomorrow, exploring why global organisations will benefit from adopting a local approach.
Equitability vs. Equality
Why do businesses often think a global approach to employee benefits is best?
Equality. That’s why.
This one word drives many business decisions because it’s considered diplomatic and fair.
At Sodexo Engage, we’re committed to diversity and inclusion, but also equity, and once you understand equity, it changes your perception of equality.
Take a look at the blog we published for International Women’s Day, as the diagram included helps to visualise equity in practice. However, since we’re exploring the concept of local and global, we’ll address how equity applies to this debate.
Student Debt Around the World
“UK graduates owe the largest student loan amounts in the developed world.” Review 42
This statement alone creates an opportunity to discuss equity, which recognises that a one-fits-all approach doesn’t make things equal. Your business may have the same goal for supporting all employees, but different countries will require different tools to reach it.
Student loan repayments are automatically taken from employees' monthly wages, reducing their take-home pay. Since UK students graduate with the highest amount of debt, their monthly deductions could last much longer than their global colleagues, and employers must take this into consideration. Providing the same financial wellbeing benefits across the globe may appear to be an equal approach, but can we say it's equitable when UK graduates are more heavily burdened by debt?
To be equitable and put UK graduates on an even keel, providing benefits unique to their situation is essential.
For information on establishing a DE&I policy within your organisation, download our new free guide – Building a Cost-Effective and Sustainable People Strategy.
Having explored the importance of an equitable approach to your employee benefits offering, let’s now look in detail at how you can best support the younger generation in the workplace.
Everyone is unique and has different life experiences, but it’s fair to say that, in general, the younger generations have less experience in managing bills and budgets. Furthermore, for the most part, younger workers start on a lower salary, working their way up as they progress. As such, they need as much help as possible to live life to the full and make their money work harder.
The sooner the younger generation can get into good money management habits, the better! Whether it’s budgeting for the month, setting savings aside for the future or something they really want, or getting savvy with their spending, these are all essential skills that will help them make their money go further and lessen the risk of falling into debt.
Our Financial Wellbeing App is an end-to-end financial management tool, providing education but also allowing employees to access wage withdrawals ahead of payday.
Discounts & Cashback
At Sodexo Engage, we provide the employee benefits your business and people need to stretch salaries and help them afford more of what matters.
Encourage employees to think ahead and plan their purchases with our Employee Discounts Platform. Whether they use it to save on the things they need or love, it’s a cost-effective and sustainable way to stretch salaries further.
Alongside our Household Support Card, which gives employees a chance to earn up to 15% cashback at over 80 participating retailers, you’re embedding a winning and inclusive combination.
Keep the engagement and communication going to encourage employees to use the benefits you’re providing!
Our Cycle to Work scheme is another reason for a local approach to employee benefits. In the UK, the scheme allows employees to spread the cost of a new bike and gives employees and employers Tax and NIC savings.
While New Zealand, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg provide cycling incentives, which, alongside the UK, are considered some of the best in the world, none replicate the UK offering.
By adopting a local approach to employee benefits, you can help to promote the importance of physical wellbeing to the younger generations and encourage them to adopt a healthier lifestyle through a greener and cheaper commute.
Virtual GPs & Private Medical Insurance (PMI)
There are two points for us to cover here. For one, we’ll direct you to our blog, How to Increase the Uptake of Your Employee Benefits Offering, because it highlights which age groups are least likely to be interested in PMI, which includes the younger generations.
The second point also supports a local approach to employee health benefits. In the UK, PMI is a nice to have, but in America, medical insurance is essential as there isn’t access to free medical care.
Our Online GP digital health platform works alongside the NHS here in the UK, providing employees with speedier access to healthcare support and GPs. This isn’t something that would translate to employees in the US, as their healthcare structure is entirely different.
The next generation of workers expects their employers to prioritise their health and wellbeing. Ensuring they can access healthcare support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, from anywhere in the world shows them you’re the kind of employer they should stay with.
Women are at higher risk of burnout, and females aged 18 to 25 have 15% lower levels of self-belief than males in that age group. 60% of 18 to 24-year-olds report that their high stress levels are down to the pressure they feel to succeed.
Our Employee Assistance Programme gives your people access to BCAP-accredited counsellors face-to-face, by phone and email, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and includes an online counselling, live chat facility for those who aren’t comfortable picking up the phone.
It’s also home to essential wellbeing resources designed to help employees help themselves. A ‘My Possible Self’ account is included, making lifestyle-tracking solutions, tailored content and crisis support available at the touch of a button.
At Sodexo Engage, many of our younger colleagues have embedded this app into their daily lives, tracking, understanding, and supporting their mental wellbeing.
Get Ready to Grow with the Next Generation of Workers
We’ve done two things with this blog: guided you towards an employee benefit offering that supports the needs of younger workers and explained how the most effective support comes from an individual and local approach.
Let’s not forget social value. Generation Z expects their employer to be responsible and have strong social credentials. Have a read of what we do here at Sodexo Engage and get inspired.
In today’s fast-moving and unpredictable business context, every advantage helps. Arrange a call today to discover the opportunities we can create for you.