3 ‘must haves’ in family-building benefit design for younger generations

Younger generations are less loyal to their employers than previous generations. According to the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019, almost half of the millennials surveyed said they would quit their current jobs in the next two years if they had a choice. Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, aren’t any less ambitious than other generations, but they are motivated by more than salary and promotions. They prioritize experiences and authenticity in their lives, and they value inclusivity, expecting that often marginalized groups will be treated fairly in the workplace and be able to achieve their potential without discrimination. That includes support for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Many millennials were crippled financially by the Great Recession and are still trying to recover. They tend to job-hop, looking to move ahead in a career and pay down their loans. Millennials often postpone starting families for various reasons, whether that be debt, the fact that they haven’t met their life partner, or that they are not established enough in their careers to take on raising a child. Yet, many millennials worry if they will be able to start a family themselves when they choose. The oldest members of this class are now entering the years of declining fertility (35-plus).

Offering a generous, and inclusive, fertility or family-building benefit is crucial when it comes to attracting and retaining today’s young talent. The details of what is offered in the benefit, and how the benefit is managed, can have a significant impact on employee loyalty as well as employee productivity. In order for employers to ease the stress of millennials and increase their dedication as employees, family-building benefits need to be focused on their priorities and tailored to help them live the life they want to live, recognizing that “traditional” families have changed. Here are three tips on designing a family-building benefit for younger generations.

1. Individual navigation: Nurture your employees through their family-building process with clinical oversight and guidance.

The process of building a family can be complex, overwhelming, stressful, and emotionally draining. Offering a family-building benefit management solution that connects clinical experts to your millennial employees will ease employee anxiety through personalized guidance and support. Fertility nurse care managers guide employees through the process, explain the procedures, help them find the right provider, demonstrate medical injections as needed, and serve as a sounding board to discuss anxiety and concerns. Benefits that are managed appropriately help your employees get the most effective treatment and make sound decisions along their path to parenthood, resulting in better outcomes and more satisfied employees.

In addition to clinical experts, some managed benefit solutions connect patients with qualified behavioral health experts. Working with a mental health professional can alleviate the stress of what many view as a life crisis and help employees find ways to cope through an emotionally challenging time. Supporting young employees both clinically and emotionally demonstrates your company’s commitment to employees showing that the organization values their professional and personal needs, resulting in a calmer, more productive employee.

2. Fertility preservation: Build a benefit that allows for delays in starting a family.

Millennials seek a feeling of security about the future that allows them to concentrate on their jobs without sacrificing their desire for a family someday. Many companies in competitive industries are using fertility-benefit-management solutions that include egg and sperm freezing as a benefit to aid employee recruitment and retention. Egg freezing is important for fertility preservation in females because the age of the eggs determines a woman’s fertility more than her own age does.

Freezing eggs when she is younger keeps the window for parenthood open longer. For oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing), a patient undergoes the same process to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs as in IVF. The eggs are then harvested and frozen for later use. Sperm freezing is an option for young men, especially those who are undergoing medical treatment that may affect their fertility, work in dangerous occupations, or expect military deployment. The patient produces a sperm sample at the andrology lab, which is screened for infection, analyzed for quality and quantity, frozen, and stored.

3. Inclusivity: Accommodate the new definition of “family.”

Inclusive benefits such as surrogacy, egg donation, donor sperm, and adoption meet the special needs of a number of different employees, from gay and lesbian couples to single parents of either gender, or non-binary people. Benefits that help these nontraditional paths to parenthood also help the entire employee population. Surrogacy is an important benefit for male same-sex couples, and also for heterosexual couples where the female partner is unable to carry a child.

In both cases, eggs are fertilized in the lab, and a resulting embryo (or embryos) is transferred to the gestational surrogate. If the embryo implants and grows, the surrogate carries the child until birth. Male same-sex couples will also need an egg donor. Surrogate benefits ease the financial burden on employees, which can be substantial if not managed appropriately. Donor sperm allows single women and same-sex female couples to become parents. Adoption is also a wonderful option for all kinds of people. Employers can use a fertility benefit management company to offer an inclusive family-building benefit that falls under a single lifetime maximum, helping all employees build their family.

Millennials are the largest segment in the workplace. Providing family-building benefits that focus on millennials’ life goals will not only affect employee loyalty positively but will also aid in recruiting a more loyal employee population.

Peter Nieves serves as the chief commercial officer for WINFertility. He is responsible for the profitable growth, product strategy, and expansion at WIN. Peter has over 25 years of experience in the benefits consulting and P&C industry.

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