What’s the Most Important Benefit You Can Offer? It Depends

Group of diverse colleagues having a discussion

If you’re like most HR people, every day you read stories about “The One Thing” research says employees value most.

A partial list:

Career development
Child care
Elder care
Parental leave
Retirement support
School-age care
College debt repayment
Free food. 

So which one is it? 


Priority is in the eye of the beholder. And right now, with five generations sharing the workplace, any one of the above list could take the top spot – depending on who you’re talking to. Millennials (35% of the workforce) are managing their parenting years. Boomers (25%) and the silent generation (2%) are thinking about retirement. Gen X (33%) is managing college kids and parents. Gen Z (5%) is thinking about building burgeoning careers. 

The goal is to reach every one without leaning so far in any one direction that you alienate another. 

The equally important thing is how the life-stages approach affects more than just employees – but the life-stage of your organization. So today’s Millennials who successfully work and parent and become leaders attract tomorrow’s Gen Zs by showing them how it’s done, and what’s possible. 

Boomers are likely thinking about dialing back without completely stepping out. Gen X and Millennials can use dependent care. Young Gen Z are looking for future-focused jobs – and a little foosball and free food would probably be nice. Everybody’s got a different priority.

Your workforce isn’t just one thing. Your benefits platform can’t be either.

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

August 27, 2019

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.