Are Low Deductible Health Insurance Plans Really the Best Plan?

It seems like right now so many folks are paying attention to their actual health insurance for the first time! Turns out, when people are dying in a pandemic, we will finally pay attention to what kind of health insurance we have from our employer.

There are basically a few kinds of plans that most folks have in the U.S.:

– Low deductible plan – you pay more upfront, but if you get sick you pay very little in terms of bills overall.

– High deductible plan – you pay less out of your check on a weekly basis, but when you get sick you will end up paying a much larger portion of the bill.

– HSA plan – this plan is less used because it’s confusing but basically it’s a combination of you paying a portion to a savings account which helps you pay for normal healthcare expenses, but also has a high deductible safety net in case something major happens to you, you won’t go broke.

Most people have a bias towards low deductible health plans. Low deductible plans are chosen the most because we fear that what rarely happens. So, we pay a ton of money to have great healthcare coverage, but most of us will never come close to using the coverage we have. Few chose high deductible because we are scared something might happen and we don’t have the money to pay for it. Even fewer chose HSAs, even though it might be the better overall option, but again, we really fear the cost of something bad happens.

This is the basis of almost all insurance, fear.

We almost always choose the most coverage we can get, even when it costs us more in the short-term and long-term. We love safety. We are also, for the most part, really stupid when it comes to math and more specifically statistics. If we did understand basic statistics we would always choose the high deductible plan and put the weekly difference into a conservative investment portfolio. After a decade or two or three we would have this giant mountain of cash, at least about 99.6% of us would!

Fear is a powerful drug.

We buy car insurance and are given options like $250, $500, or $1000 deductible in case we get into an accident. Most of us will choose the lower amounts even those the vast majority of drivers never get into an accident. We buy flood insurance for our houses even when we aren’t in a flood plain because the one hundred year flood plain is a mile away from our house.

So, why am I talking about healthcare deductibles?

We are moving into a high unemployment environment. People are also going to be short on cash, so there’s a good chance when your next open enrollment happens you’ll have more people who will choose a high deductible, cheaper plans. In HR, this pains us greatly, because we want everyone to have the “best” insurance possible.

Why does HR want this? Because we deal with the fallout when someone chooses the high deductible insurance and then something happens and all of sudden it becomes ‘our’ problem to help this employee. So, to not have this pressure, just push everyone to a low deductible.

I’m telling you this is bad advice. HR is giving bad advice. Safe advice, but bad advice, based on math. Real math, not HR math.

 

It’s not Unlimited PTO or Accrual! Both are flawed, but I have a Plan! (The Sackett PTO Plan!)

Okay, I promise, after this post, I’ll stop talking about this subject!

I will tell you when I started this conversation over a tweet my friend Matt Charney put out, and a subsequent viral LinkedIn post on the same subject, there are clearly two very opinionated sides to this issue!

Side Unlimited PTO (UPTO):

  • There’s nothing like the idea of being able to just take time off when you want and not having to worry if you have the ‘time’ or not saved.
  • Yes, we know the data, and it says on average people use less time, but that’s my choice.
  • If you work at a company with a great culture and leadership, this is the only way to go. It’s a beautiful day and I want to take my child out for a picnic, but oh, I only have five days left for the year, I better save those. That choice sucks.

Side Accrual:

  • UPTO folks are idiots that don’t understand this is a scam that benefits companies, not employees.
  • Accrual is better because if I decide to leave the company the company has to pay me the time that I’ve banked.
  • When I take accrued time off it feels earned, thus I don’t feel like I need to work while taking the time off.

The Facts about Paid Time Off (PTO):

  • Any PTO plan sucks if you work in a toxic culture where you feel stressed to take time off.
  • Unlimited PTO is a fallacy. No organization is going to let you take off the entire year of work paid and not fire you. Grow up.
  • If your reason for liking a plan is that it’s nice when you leave the organization. That plan is a broken benefit for the organization.
  • Every employee should feel comfortable to stay at home when they are sick. Meaning, they will get paid and not feel pressure to show up and risk getting others sick.
  • There is no perfect PTO plan because we all value our time differently.

What’s the better PTO Plan?

Here’s what we know. Making a statement like, “Why don’t we just act like adults” shows me you don’t have a clue about how complex this issue is. The pandemic basically killed the standard UPTO plans moving forward. “Oh great, you offer UPTO!? So, like during a pandemic you’re going to keep paying me fully for three months!?” Um, well, not exactly…

You can say Accrual is the way to go, but the vast majority of folks said the only real benefit for Accrual is that it’s a termination insurance policy. So, that doesn’t work either! If the goal of PTO is to make sure people take time off to recharge and be healthy, saving it for when you get fired isn’t a good plan!

Here’s the Sackett PTO Plan to save America:

  1. If you are sick with a communicable disease, you must stay home until you are released to come back to work by a medical professional. We all have the ability to use Teledocs now, this isn’t difficult. The company will continue your pay. If you can work from home and have the ability while at home recovering there is an expectation you will do what you can. (You’re an adult, right?)
  2. If you take care of someone else and they are sick and need your care the company will cover that cost of you staying home and taking care of them. Again, Teledoc, show me that this is real and we are all good, take care of your loved one.
  3. You must take three weeks of vacation per year, minimum based on your plan/organization/FTE status/etc., in increments you feel are necessary for your lifestyle. So, low end you get three weeks, high-end is up to organizations and your ability to negotiate.
  4. You will get “X” number of holidays paid for – let’s not get silly no one needs Arbor Day off, and yes, we’ll give you your birthday off paid.
  5. You will get automatically 2 weeks no-fault termination/leave pay, at a minimum based on your level of position, when you leave the organization. Whether we fire you or you decide to leave on your own, makes no difference. No reason to “save” our vacation time any longer.
  6. There is no carryover of vacation time from year to year. Want to take a month off to travel around Europe? Be a great performer and you shouldn’t have a problem.

Did we cover everything? Sick time is covered. We will force folks to take time off for wellness. You get paid holidays. You get money to leave. If you perform really well, you get flexibility.

I think this is a plan that I would feel like I’m being taken care of by my employer. Yes, it’s expensive, but so is finding and training great talent. Could someone take advantage of this plan? Yes, and I would fire them. For the record, that usually stops others from trying to take advantage.

Have a better PTO plan? Hit me in the comments!

Also – don’t forget to check out the HR Famous Podcast where Kris Dunn, Jessica Lee and I debate this topic. They got it wrong and I got it right!! Well, maybe…

E10 – The HR Famous Podcast – Unlimited PTO or Accrual? What would your employees choose?

In Episode 10 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee, Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn get together to discuss how COVID-19 has changed their daily life, the Cuomo brothers and work-life balance. Tim wants to talk about PTO: accrual vs. unlimited. What’s better? There are different answers with many variables…

The gang continues to talk about how PTO will be molded by the COVID-19 crisis with Kris wondering if unlimited PTO might attract the “average” performers. The team closes by talking about the differences in how different types of employees want their PTO and Tim brings up the demise of the Unlimited PTO plan.

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!

Show Highlights:

1:56 – Tim brings up the question “How your life was pre-coronavirus vs. now – what’s the percentage?” He says he has had a 50-60% change where Jlee has had nearly a 90% change, drinking more and bonding with family.

4:05 – KD talks about how he isn’t doing anything. He’s going on a run sometimes and avoiding people as much as possible. He’s also being a little more introspective. Tim calls KD out on his new deck-lifestyle with the cat.

7:00 – KD hits the cancel culture with a “BACK OFF” and brings up the Cuomo Brothers (recently featured in a POLITICO article) since Chris Cuomo has the coronavirus but is still doing shows from the basement. Where’s our work-life balance? Is he a bad example? JLee says haters are going to hate, and maybe he should use that sick leave – but he’s doing a service to the people by showing them what COVID-19 looks like. POLITICO is just hating.

12:10 – There’s rarely a moment where someone reaches the top without outworking someone. KD calls out the bullsh*t – for everyone, you have to put in the work and people who don’t work as hard, can’t expect the same results. You have to grind it out. Shout out to Chris Cuomo.

14:47 – Tim brings up unlimited PTO vs Accruals – you’re not going to be using 4 months of BeachPTO, but what would win if you had to choose? Would more people choose the unlimited plan?

18:26 – KD says the answer is different pre and post COVID-19. Tim brings up that HR pros have different opinions than the majority of workers.

22:15 – KD likes a system where you use it or lose it for your vacation time – but sick leave can be rolled over for extended sick leave, extended maternity leave, etc. It’s important for major medical! Jlee kind of agrees but when she was younger, she banked those days for an unused PTO pay out.

25:03 – Tim says PTO will be shaped by COVID, because people may stop coming to work sick. Hybrid PTO packages might be in our future…

28:00 – KD challenges Jlee – what plans would workers select, if they could? Jlee says, there’s no way it’s a one size fits all.

31:20 – KD asks Tim, “What plan will the top performer select?” Tim says unlimited, but Jlee and KD say no – KD says the real answer doesn’t matter because the best managers treat their high performers different.

34:48 – Jlee and KD talk about accruals being preferred over unlimited because sometimes, you don’t want anyone to call you and you want the official day off.

38:50 – The team closes it out with their final comments and how unlimited PTO just might go away post-coronavirus.

Resources:

Jessica Lee on LinkedIn

Tim Sackett on Linkedin

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

HRU Tech

The Tim Sackett Project

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Kinetix

Boss Leadership Training Series

4 Great Things About Your 401K Taking a Dump!

The stock market is in the crapper and everyone’s 401K took a hit that will take years to recover, so how can any of this be great!?!

Oh, just give me a minute to explain…

Yeah, it sucks! I mean panic in the streets sucks, I just lost my retirement condo in Boca sucks! I’m trying to make light of a bad financial situation. Oh wait, I kind of am.

The reality is we all put ourselves in this situation. We gambled. We put our money into mutual funds and 401Ks and other investment vehicles and we loved watching them gain money for the last ten years! Since the great recession, the S&P 500 has tripled! If you got in early, you’ve seen your entire retirement increase substantially from where it was.

Good news, bad news. It sucks we are all taking this hit, but we’ve had a great ride up! Plus, it will ride up again, for those who have a few years. For those who don’t, I’m very sorry, truly. It’s a great lesson for us all that as we get close to retirement, get the vast majority of your money out of the market and into much more conservative investments.

So, what about this nightmare do I think is great?

1. GenX lives! It’s too late for the Baby Boomers, they’re out. The Millennials thought they were on the cusp of taking over, well sorry, kids, Daddy isn’t leaving just yet! Thanks to the market fall, Gen X is here to stay for another decade and the Millennials looking to take over as leaders are just going to have to sit back and relax.

2. Retirement is Boring! I know you wanted to retire. It seems so great sitting around Florida watching your friends get older, sicker, and eventually die. Look, you get one run around this rock, why just stop, let’s keep this thing going! There isn’t one part of me that is looking forward to retirement. What am I going to do, sit home and watch crappy CBS cop shows? Nope, apparently, I’ll be getting a second job to help pay for the food bill with all my Gen Z kids at home that can’t find jobs.

3. Being Poor is a Great Diet Plan. Do you know no one has ever written a diet book about not having money and how it reduces your caloric intake? It seems like someone would have ‘scientifically’ picked up on that. Ugh, I lost most of my retirement in the stock market, now I have to stop going out for the nice 3,000 calorie dinners at the Applebee’s! America is way fat! LIKE WAAAAYYY FAT! We all need a diet. To feel a bit hungry again. We’ll all be tougher for it!

4. I’m buying great companies at a super discount! I’m a conservative gambler. I only like winning! Do you know how you win? Buy great, profitable companies, at 50% off and double your money in a shorter period of time! Now is not the time to be gun shy. This will be one of the top 2 or 3 buying opportunities in the history of the market!

I know, there is a portion of folks who will read this and think, “Tim’s an asshole!” How can he say this!?! He has no empathy! (Editor’s Note: Tim is an asshole.)

We all choose to react to tragedy in different ways. This sucks. This sucks for me and my family. This sucks for my business. This sucks for you. We can all agree on that. I also need to move on. To move forward. We did that after the great recession and we were stronger for it. We’ll do that again.

Also, Gen X Lives!

A 30-Minute Commute is All Most People Are Willing to Take!

We all kind of know this fact. Once you get more than 30 minutes away from your job, no matter how you actually come into work, it starts to feel like a chore. You begin to hate the commute. Doesn’t matter if you drive, take a train, walk, etc. 30 minutes, one-way, is our max!

It’s called Marchetti’s Constant: 

Marchetti’s constant is the average time spent by a person for commuting each day, which is approximately one hour. It is named after Italian physicist Cesare Marchetti, though Marchetti himself attributed the “one hour” finding to transportation analyst and engineer Yacov Zahavi.[1] Marchetti posits that although forms of urban planning and transport may change, and although some live in villages and others in cities, people gradually adjust their lives to their conditions (including the location of their homes relative to their workplace) such that the average travel time stays approximately constant.

I can’t tell you how many times, as a Recruiter, I was talked into believing this wasn’t true by a candidate that then screwed me by ghosting on an interview after driving to the location and seeing it was too long, declining an offer late, started the job but then quickly left because the commute was too long, or we had to over-compensate to make up for the time the person spent on the commute.

Probably one out of one hundred people can actually take a longer commute and live with it. 99% of people will eventually crack if the commute is over thirty minutes. So, what does this mean for us trying to attract talent to our organizations? There are certain locations in the U.S. that are much easier to have a thirty-minute commute than others:

On average, large metro areas with the shortage commute time:

  1. Grand Rapids, MI
  2. Rochester, NY
  3. Buffalo, NY
  4. Oklahoma City, OK
  5. Salt Lake City, UT
  6. Kansas City, MO
  7. Milwaukee, WI
  8. Louisville, KY
  9. Hartford, CT
  10. Memphis, TN

All of these metro areas have the majority of their citizens with a commute time under 30 minutes.

Who have the worst commute times? Think about the largest metro areas, even when you take into account their transit options: New York, San Francisco, D.C., Philly, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, etc.

So, it’s thirty minutes one-way or one hour per day, or five hours per week that the average person is willing to commute. I wonder if this plays itself out when you begin to factor in work from home options?

Let’s say you ask someone to commute one hour each way, two hours per day, but you let them work from home two days per week. Total commute time is still more at six hours per week, but would that make a difference enough to retrain and attract more talent to your organization? I have a feeling it would. It’s worth a test for those who have longer commutes at your work location.

Also, I have seen this done by any company, but I would love to see turnover data by commute time! I have seen data on hourly worker turnover and it’s amazing to see the differences by miles from a worksite in a radiant pattern. Every mile you get farther from the work site, the turnover increases exponentially until you get to about five miles where it skyrockets. So, we know if you hire hourly, low-skilled workers, your best bet for retention is less than five miles from your location (this also is about a 15-minute commute – car, public, walking, bike, etc.).

So often we want to focus on the stuff we control, versus stuff the candidate or employee can control, but we think it’s ‘their’ decision. The problem is, we allow people to make bad decisions and don’t think it will affect us, but it does in high turnover. All things being equal, or close to equal with candidates, take the one with the shorter total commute!

The Best of 2019! What’s the most luxurious Benefit you can offer your employees in 2019?

I’m on a holiday break. Boys are home, we’re going on a trip. So, I’ve put together a Best of 2019 post list for you to enjoy. I’ll be back after the holidays with new stuff and some cool announcements for 2020!

I read a bunch of articles about what’s the next greatest benefit to offer employees. I read one the other day that tried to make it seem like now offering food at work is normal like everyone is giving away breakfast and lunches like you give away health insurance.

It’s the one thing I hate about reading mainstream media HR articles. Apparently, the only employers in America are located in the 50 square miles around Silicon Valley. Do you really think I believe that the majority of companies in America are giving away free food to their employees?

Come on, that’s not happening!

If you are lucky enough to work for a place that feeds you, great you won the job lottery, enjoy it! If they offer you Kombucha as well, then I’m just sorry for you, because that means they hate you.

What’s the #1 luxury benefit to offer in 2019?

It’s Time.

Time is the one thing every single one of us needs more of. For many, it doesn’t even have to be paid time off! Just allow me some time to do some of the stuff that impacting my life, so I can better focus on work when I’m at work.

But of course, Paid Time is always appreciated.

I know some employers have gone to unlimited paid time off and studies have shown that when organizations go to this their overall use of paid time off actually goes down. This is a sad commentary on our society.

I know a lot of HR friends of mine argue this can’t be the case because it seems so contrarian to what you would think would happen. “If I had unlimited time off I would never come in and just be on vacation every day!” Okay, Betty, and you would be fired!

The reality is unlimited time off isn’t the answer because psychology doesn’t work. Some have the self-control enough to use it appropriately, but most people fear that taking time off will somehow impact their performance, so even when they do take their unlimited time off, they still are connected, working in some way.

I know of a few organizations that completely shut down for a week or two completely. Notice out to clients – “hey, it’s our annual refresh the batteries, 100% of us will be off and not connected, we can’t wait to come back fully recharged to rock your world”. I like the idea but get it probably impractical for so many organizations.

I think the best thing we can do as leaders is to ensure our people are actually taking their paid time off and when they do they know that it’s okay to completely disconnect. That we’ll have their back and to enjoy themselves.

I wonder how many of your leaders pull quarterly or annual reports of PTO to see if their team is taking time for themselves?

 

DisruptHR Lansing! March 19th – Call for Speakers is Open!

Lansing, MI is about to get all Disrupted and Stuff!

Everyone already knows I’m a big believer in DisruptHR events. I’ve spoken at many, I’ve been on the team running DisruptHR Detroit from the beginning, and I decided to start DisruptHR Lansing in my own backyard!

Our first event, DisruptHR Lansing 1.0 will take place in Downtown Lansing on March 19th in the evening (more details to follow) at The Exchange. Great speakers, free food and drinks, and disruptive HR talks throughout the night!

What is DisruptHR?

  • 5-minute hr-based micro-talks. Might be HR, talent, employee experience, leadership, rap music, who knows!
  • Each talk has a very specific format – 20 slides and each slide moves automatically every 15 seconds.
  • The goal is to be fast and challenge the status quo of the people side of the business!

CALL for SPEAKERS is NOW OPEN! 

We’ll be selecting a great group of speakers. I encourage HR pros and Leaders from the Mid-Michigan area to throw your names into the hat for speaking spots!!! It’s a great way to get yourself on stage with a group of fellow HR peers who’ll support you and laugh at our bad HR jokes!

Speakers also get a professionally recorded version of your talk. This is an awesome parting gift for your own development, and to show other conferences, etc. if you decide you want to speak in a longer format in the future. Almost every conference I know now asks for some proof of your ability to speak, as such, this becomes a very valuable piece of content!

Why Speak at DisruptHR Lansing 1.0? 

1. Well, I’ll be there!

2. Lansing, MI is the capital of Michigan. The epicenter of all things people in our state. It’s also might be the one place in Michigan that needs the most HR disruption!

3. HR pros need a network. We need to support each other. This is a great event to make that happen!

4. Cocktails & Hugs! (which ironically is the name of one of my upcoming future books!)

5. I’ll owe you!

Let’s face it. It’s March 19, 2020. We’ve just spent the last 120 days in pure grayness. We need to get out and do something! The event space will be intimate, the energy will be high, and we’re going to have some fun! Come join us! Tickets will go on sale after the holidays. We wanted to open up the Call for Speakers first!

If you want to get an email when tickets go on sale, leave your email on the comments below and I”ll make sure you’re the first to know!

Life is better when you have cheerleaders!

I’ve got some great friends in my life. People who support me in my professional field. I’ve got cheerleaders that are on my side hoping I succeed in everything I do.

Do you have cheerleaders? Do you have a cheerleader?

I think if you have one your life is richer. It’s not about who has the most cheerleaders, but I do think it is critical for your success to have a cheerleader or two in your life.

What’s the role of a cheerleader in your life?

  • Support you in the community when you are not present.
  • Support you in your professional and personal positive endeavors. Sometimes in person. Sometimes from afar.
  • Pick you up when you are having a hard time picking yourself up.
  • They believe in you, and they’ve let you know they believe in you through their words and actions.
  • To let you know what you do matters. Maybe only to one other person, but it still matters.

Just because someone is your cheerleader doesn’t mean you need to be their cheerleader. I have people in my life that I cheer for, that they don’t cheer for me. It doesn’t mean they dislike me, it’s just they aren’t one of my cheerleaders, and that’s okay. I also have cheerleaders that I don’t return the favor for, again, not because I don’t cherish them, I just don’t know them enough to return that favor.

I think cheerleaders get a bad rap in our society. Why would someone want to stand on the sidelines and just cheer for someone else? Go do it yourself!

Yeah, I get that, but also what’s wrong with wanting to help someone else succeed? It’s a very selfless and endearing feature to want to help others succeed and cheer them on in their success. I don’t think cheerleaders get enough credit for what they do. When a team loses or an individual loses, people feel bad for them, but no one feels worse than those who cheered them on the most.

Here’s what I know.

I’ve been in places in my life when it felt like I didn’t have any cheerleaders in my life, and I’m in a place where it seems like I’ve got a tremendous amount of cheerleaders in my life cheering me on daily.

Life is way better with cheerleaders.

College Athletes: You better have some experience!

My oldest son is so close to being off the payroll and graduating college I can almost taste it! Because he transferred schools after his first two years he has a couple of classes to make up, but he has a great internship this summer, so he’s going back to school in the fall to finish up his senior year.

He plays college baseball, so a bunch of his senior teammates in the same grad class as he did graduate this past weekend. I got to speak with a bunch of these parents who are now excited for their kids to find jobs. You know we all love to hire college athletes, right!?! Right?

Here’s the thing. College athletes work their butts off and put in more hours than you can ever imagine between their sport and their classes. The work ethic. The competitiveness. Etc. Is why so many employers search out college athletes to hire.

But, with all of that comes one big problem. Most college athletes use the summer to get themselves ready for the next season. Becoming a starter takes place because of the extra work you put in on the offseason. So, we find a ton of college athletes don’t actually have much on their resume upon graduation, except for the fact they played a college sport, which now that they are in the real work world has very little value for most employers.

I get it, we are sports obsessed in America. We think little Johnny and little Suzy are the next Olympians and we spend enormous amounts of time and money chasing these dreams. I’ve personally spent more time and money than probably 99% of parents out there!

If I take off my Dad hat and put on my employer hat, this isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Great Enterprise Rent-A-Car found success hiring college athletes to work as Manager in Training. By the way, that job sucks! But, if you can make it through the first couple of years, you can make a decent career out of it. But do you think anyone is going to college believing that they want to be a Manager in Training for a rental car company?

I look at the resumes of so many college athletes, as compared to non-college athletes and there is one glaring difference, and that difference isn’t one was an athlete and one wasn’t. It’s that the non-athlete, many times, has 3-4 internships with real companies, doing real jobs, getting real experience. That has real value to employers.

I Love that my son got the experiences he did in college athletics, but he was also smart enough to say I’m willing to give up training all summer, to get internship experience because, in the end, I’m not getting drafted. He’s in the minority. Most either work jobs that have nothing to do with getting a career, or don’t work at all, and then upon graduation are surprised to find out they aren’t as sought out as they were lead to believe.

So, if your kid is playing a college sport here’s my advice:

  1. Unless they are high-level D1 and have a legitimate shot at going pro and making real money, don’t let a college coach make your kid feel like they have to use their entire offseason to keep playing their sport.
  2. Get a real internship, at least one, before graduation that is in line with your degree.
  3. If you bought into the hype and the pressure and your kid now has no experience in the real world, it’s never too late to go and do an internship, even for free, to get real experience. Even after graduation.

Here’s the reality. When a hiring manager has an opening, especially for entry-level grads, they will see resumes with candidates who have multiple internships with big brands, and those candidates come across a very sexy! They will also see resumes of candidates who were athletes in college, and they will be intrigued. Almost always, the candidate with real-world experience will kick the ass of an athlete without experience in an interview.

Have fun. Play sports. Also, get some experience!

4 Ways to Enhance the Workplace for Generation Z

The youngest talent populating the labour market belongs to a cohort called Generation Z; generally defined as anyone born after 1997. Now making up roughly 30% of the global population, the question has quite rightly been asked: how can we strategize to attract and retain these alien ‘digital natives’?

You will have already seen the researchers and think tanks throwing their scare-mongering claims at you, with each article making different assumptions for what an entire generation demands from their employers. Sounds ridiculous right? The reality is, being born in 1998 myself, even I can’t speak for the hundreds of millions of young people belonging to Gen Z. The irony is, as we explore what might enhance the workplace for Gen Z, in fact makes the workplace better for everyone.

  1. Training and development.

I think I’m safe in saying the concept of staying with the same organisation until retirement has long expired. A symptom of this change in labour market conditions is that job-hopping is a bigger concern than ever. Retention is an increasing challenge then, for a generation with the same lack of organisational loyalty as the millennials before them. Effective and frequent training & development is therefore a crucial factor in fostering a longer-term allegiance, by demonstrating your will to invest in their futures. Not only retaining an engaged Gen Z workforce, but an engaged workforce in its entirety.

  1. Student debt help.

For the Gen Z graduates of today, there is no doubt that student loan repayment will be a significant factor in their financial well-being, with the average cost of a 3-year degree sitting at £35,000. Solutions to address student debt makes employers immediately relevant, signalling empathy in a move that can really make an impact. Its not hard to see this offering a serious competitive advantage in attracting top graduate talent, and once again it’s not just Gen Z that benefits, anyone with a considerable amount of student debt will be more concerned with its repayment before making any meaningful retirement contributions.

  1. Mental and physical well-being.

Amid a generational mental health crisis amongst young adults, employers that can demonstrate what they are doing to promote cultures of openness and support will only surpass those who neglect the issue. The exact same goes for physical health and well-being, which is just as important and entirely interlinked. The common theme of empathy towards societal issues is clearly becoming a strategic tool in attracting and retaining Gen Z talent, and equally, ask yourself which generation doesn’t want their mental and physical well-being to be a priority?

  1. Exam help.

The importance of career-focused perks is again highlighted as we look at employers projecting empathy towards their current or prospective talent’s goals. Offering things like paid study leave, exam materials, or opportunities to take professional qualification exams in-house go a long way to achieving this. No question Gen Z’s are exam and development focused, but yet again we see desires that are not exclusive to one generation.

So perhaps my title was misleading, but hopefully we’ve stripped away the mystery surrounding what Gen Z wants. And at the same time highlighted that it’s very easy to look at Gen Z as making new demands, when really the uncomfortable truth lies in a historic lack of being strategically prepared incoming generations and emphatic around issues that are nothing new.


Josh Milton-Edwards is a fledgling HR professional mad about all things culture, engagement and wellbeing. I work for an award-winning best-practice culture department based in the UK. Soaking up every last bit of the experience before completing my HRM degree in 2019/20. Aiming high and can’t wait to see what more opportunities arise for the taking!