United Kingdom

New Aon study into generational segmentation casts doubt on current practice


LONDON (23 September 2015) – Aon Employee Benefits, the UK health and benefits business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), says its latest study from Martha How, reward partner, suggests current practice into generational segmentation is too simplistic and not necessarily supportive of employee and employer needs.

In her latest paper into employee benefits practice, How has analysed seven areas of research, one of which is over 100,000 individual flexible benefit choices across Aon’s client base. She believes that many of the psychological forces that people face when making pay and benefits choices influence attitude regardless of age.

She said, “It’s a common view that we now have five generations in the workforce, each with differing needs and preferences. These can be caricatures – for example, that 20-somethings aren’t interested in pensions, while 50-somethings are worriers about pension and health. Until now, flex has been the answer to offer choice for individual preferences”.

How’s evidence argues that this thinking is too simplistic, although influences can be mapped to some extent against generational differences. Not all workers and workforces display the same characteristics and employers should address generational segmentation when delivering employee reward and benefits, but with great care to address the real issues.

The paper also puts the situation into context with the UK population, with the span of working ages between 16 and 75 and more people working past 60 than ever before. This dynamic raises a large number of concerns for Government and future State Benefit funding at the macro-economic level. While the problem also impacts employers, especially in the longer term, Aon’s paper addresses the more immediate issues.

How’s conclusion is that generations in the workplace are more similar than we think. “All employees at a fundamental level want the same core things from employers. Indeed, generalisations about generations may simply be unhelpful.

“Employers need to apply segmentation intelligently - by age may be appropriate if it’s done carefully and is based on data specific to the organisation. Making sweeping assumptions is dangerous. However our research shows that there do appear to be distinct differences in communication preferences across the generations. For employee demographics with wide age ranges, it is essential for employers to use multi-media communication strategies and consider carefully, and potentially even vary, content that truly gets the message across to the whole employment base.”

Having access to such comprehensive data was the key behind this study. Aon Employee Benefits supports HR with data to gain insight and knowledge on preferences and behaviours. This informs better decisions, great benefit design and high impact communication.

Martha How’s paper is available on http://www.aon.com/unitedkingdom/employee-benefits/knowledge-centre/white-papers-and-reports.jsp

For more information contact letstalkbenefits@aon.co.uk.



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