The next generations of parents are completely rethinking family life and planning. Although more than half of millennial women have already given birth, the average age of a first-time mother is at a new high of 26, up from 21 in 1970. While our society changes at a rapid pace, so are the ways we’re having and raising families. Younger generations are building families and will continue to do so in different ways than their parents and grandparents — and they're looking for benefits that will support them.
Millennials and Gen Z have different needs
Younger workers are more likely to encourage companies to demonstrate their values through support for diversity and inclusion in new aspects of their lives, like wellness benefits and fertility benefits. They’re also more likely to quit if they’re not getting what they want — millennials and Gen Z are leading The Great Resignation. New research from LinkedIn shows that Gen Z’s job transitions have increased 80% YoY, with millennials are transitioning at the second-highest rate of 50%. To combat this predilection for job-hopping, employers need to give their younger employees a reason to stay. These workers want more from their employers — especially when they’re looking at benefits that support health and family planning.
A recent survey from BlueCross BlueShield shows that 42% of millennials view their employer’s health insurance as a positive factor in their choice to work there. And even more importantly, over half of those surveyed said their current health insurance is very or extremely impactful on their decision to stay with their current employer.
For younger parents, adding stressful healthcare decisions to an already exhausting schedule can lead to burnout and worsening mental health. Millennials and Gen Z need their healthcare platforms and providers to meet them where they are — which is often on their phones. They have high expectations for technology and useability, with 74% of millennials preferring to see a doctor through telemedicine.
With a strong preference for on-demand healthcare, one-third of millennials will prefer walk-in clinics over a visit to their doctor. Younger workers are prioritizing this speed of delivery and specialization over a relationship with a primary care physician — a survey from Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 45% of 18 to 29-year-olds have no primary care provider, compared to 85% of the older generations. The high costs of healthcare, with expensive co-pays and limited networks, also disincentivize young people from regularly interacting with the healthcare system. As discussed in Birth Settings in America, “particularly for otherwise young and healthy women, pregnancy often serves as an initial entry point to receiving sustained health services as an adult.” For most people, their pregnancy experience can define how they engage with the healthcare system for the rest of their lives — making the parenting journey an essential time to provide support.
How can your organization support these new generations?
Today’s workforce isn’t just looking for a more modern approach to wellness — they need a comprehensive approach to healthcare that focuses on the whole self. Especially for people navigating their parenthood journey, holistic benefits could be the difference between an employee staying at a company and searching for a new job. Here’s how you can stand out to the next generations of talent.
1. Address the diverse needs of your team
For younger generations, it’s important to see themselves reflected across their healthcare experience in the diversity of providers, services, and mental and physical health conditions treated. Social determinants of health are an important consideration for supporting American millennials and Gen Z, who are more racially diverse than older generations, with 44% of millennial workers identifying as belonging to a minority group. Especially in the journeys of fertility, pregnancy, and childrearing, younger parents want benefits that consider their identities and cultures.
Diversity for younger generations isn’t just about race. The term encompasses the intersectional social determinants of health such as gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, and access to education. Understanding that barriers to good healthcare vary for different groups is essential — for example, some rural families must travel hours for care because of a lack of obstetric units in half of rural communities. To mitigate these factors, your company can offer holistic healthcare that includes telehealth and virtual options to empower your team to access care in the ways that work for them.
2. Make benefits personalized and purposeful
Millennials and Gen Zers are used to having much of their lives tailored to their individual needs. As these generations become parents, they expect personalization to be integrated into their benefits. And employers are taking note — a recent survey from Wilson Towers Watson finds that 69% of employers plan to differentiate and customize their benefits to compete in the tight race for talent.
This commitment to customization pays off, as the majority of employees report that having personalized benefits to meet their specific health and well-being needs would increase their loyalty to their employers. To drive impact, education must be a key part of the conversation around customizable benefits in your organization. From new hire onboarding to company-wide meetings and regular email communication about benefits, creating an open dialogue where people can give feedback will help empower your employees to use these benefits to their full potential.
3. Provide clinically vetted information that’s easy to access and use
It’s inevitable — millennials and Gen Z patients will search their symptoms online before seeing a doctor. In the digital age, an overwhelming amount of information from friends, family, social media and blogs can feel inextricably linked to the parenting journey. The growing cohort of millennial and Gen Z parents are chronically online, with 90% of millennials active on social media. In a survey by Time, 58% of millennial parents found the information available to them online somewhat, very, or extremely overwhelming — and it’s also not necessarily correct. Maven commissioned a survey of pregnant people to explore the most influential factors guiding vaccine decision-making and found that 61% of pregnant people were unaware that the CDC recommends vaccines during pregnancy due to misinformation from various sources.
It’s essential to make sure the healthcare advice your team is receiving online is accurate and medically sound. A survey from health data management firm Harmony Healthcare IT shows that 73% of millennials have said they forgo doctor’s visits to do their research online, and 93% said they do research online to supplement their doctor’s advice. Providing easy access to clinically-moderated forums- like the Maven forums where members get responses from both peers and healthcare providers - is important to supporting digital natives as they navigate their journey.
Maven is the world’s largest virtual clinic for women’s and family health, designed to help you support your employees through planning, raising, and growing a family. We know the pathways to parenthood are as diverse as the workforce — and as the generations of the workforce change, we’re going to be changing with it. Maven can work with employers to personalize care for their dynamic team to ensure that millennial and Gen Z workers have access to exceptional, on-demand, whole-person comprehensive care. We’ve built an intersectional approach to diversity into our care model, with a provider network that looks like the range of patients we serve — 40% of our providers identifying as BIPOC and 8% as LGBTQ. Maven makes it possible for your business to attract and support current and future generations of talent.
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