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Looking after workers despite generational gaps

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

People are different and therefore are after different benefits from their employers. Generational differences play a role in this, as younger people’s wants may differ from their older counterparts.

Morag Fitzsimons, national manager for employee care and people solutions at Lockton, discussed how best to approach generational shifts in your workforce.

HR Leader: “How does generational demand affect what workers want?”


Ms Fitzsimons: “I have two sons, my eldest is 20, and his view of work is very different to my view of work, even at the same age. He looks at how hard we all work and go, ‘I don’t want to work that hard, I still want to earn a good living, I don’t want to do these things.’ So I think expectations of work [are] very different around work as a vehicle to allow younger people to do other things, as it should be for all of us.”

“When I think about my generation, and my parents’ generation, work was the thing that you had to do, and you had to be good at it, and you had to focus on, and it was expected you would dedicate yourself to it, whereas I think younger generations expect more. I think COVID-19 really showed this push to flexibility, where organisations had previously said, ‘No, you can’t work from home’, to then having to, within a matter of weeks.”

She continued: “So, young people are looking for that flexibility; they’re looking for an employer that will help them with that life stage piece. Whilst superannuation is great, we’re seeing organisations looking at more benefits around life insurance, or salary continuance, or subsidised health insurance to really provide a cost-of-living break for people.”

“Employer perspective becomes much more of a dual proposition; it’s that social contract between an employer and an employee, and all of a sudden, it’s about we will support you, in return for your work and effort, we’ll pay you well, and we’ll support you through these additional benefits to help you cope with what life is going to throw out you.”

“Younger people are looking for things that will help them with their life stage, which will support their education and training, but likewise at the 50s-plus age, where I’m at, we don’t want to talk about retirement, we want to think about our relevance and retraining, and what can we go to, and what support do we get. With artificial intelligence coming in, we’re going to have to learn to use technology differently.”

She added: “We’ve really got to start thinking about life stages rather than a holistic workforce.”

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full audio conversation with Morag Fitzsimons on 6 April is below, and the original podcast article can be found here. 



Absence management

Absence management is a strategy used by employers to minimise employee absenteeism, prevent worker disturbance, and increase employee productivity. It entails establishing a balance between providing assistance to workers absent from their jobs due to illness, accidents, or other unanticipated events and penalizing those whose absences are dubious or excessive.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.