March 26, 2021

Engaging the Multigenerational Workforce in Wellness Programs

Older man outdoors on phone with laptop

In the modern workforce, the average age of retirement has been increasing, and with that comes a common phenomenon: four generations—Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z—working side-by-side to fulfil company goals. According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2020 report, 89% of HR and hiring professionals view this shift as something that makes a company more successful due to the diversity of skills and experiences that employees bring to the table.1

However, one of the challenges that comes with this type of workforce is that each generation has unique values, needs, interests, and ways of engaging with content, which can make it difficult to develop wellness programs that are appealing to everyone.2 When wellness programs successfully engage a workforce’s employees, a company can expect outcomes such as lower rates of absenteeism, improved morale, and increased productivity, which ultimately drive profitability.3 This is why it is important to develop programs that engage all employees, and the key to doing this in a multigenerational workforce is having diverse offerings.

So what does this look like? When you’re designing your wellness program, keep three questions in mind.

What are the main health concerns within each group?

Millennials and Gen Z tend to prioritize stress management, financial health, social well-being, and sleep, in addition to nutrition and exercise. Gen X and Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are more focused on managing chronic conditions and issues related to weight gain and physical activity. As a result, wellness programs should take a holistic approach and offer initiatives that are centred around a variety of topics throughout the year so that each generation’s interests are addressed. Initiatives can be narrow in scope—for example, diabetes education sessions—or they can be more general initiatives that target multiple health concerns.  For example, promoting physical activity through step challenges addresses both stress and weight management.  

What motivates them to participate?

There’s one thing that’s common across all generations—they love rewards! However, the rewards they care about most differ. Baby Boomers, for example, put value on the overall benefits of wellness initiatives themselves, as well as on money. Younger generations value things such as donation matching and rewards tied to experiences. Reward solutions that allow  employees to self-select the reward most valuable to them from a predetermined list will drive participation and engagement in your wellness programming.  One more important thing to remember about incentives --- they are most motivating when awarded promptly and in small increments, as opposed to a big reward at the end of a long wait period.

What’s their preferred mode of communicating?

This is something that can be drastically different between generations. Gen Z and Millennials prefer concise and straightforward communications that use a casual tone of voice. They are most comfortable using apps, social media, and texting. Gen X also prefers straightforward messages, but they like their communications to happen over email, websites, and meetings. Baby boomers are considered less tech-savvy than other generations and prefer meetings and printed materials. However, many employees from this generation can and do use technology, especially now that so many workplaces have gone remote. It is crucial that wellness initiatives are communicated often and through the many mentioned channels so that company wellness initiatives stay at the forefront of employees’ minds.

How Sprout Can Help

At Sprout, we offer programming throughout the year that covers a wide range of health and wellness topics so there’s something for everyone. We also develop communication materials that use a variety of channels to promote programming and keep people engaged with the platform. Furthermore, our platform can be accessed by app and website and has an intuitive  interface that makes it easy to use, no matter one’s level of comfort with technology. Finally, clients can reward employees right on our platform by enabling our integrated rewards solution for in-app redemptions. Learn more by booking a demo!

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