Every generation agrees: Humans are top source for benefits

COLUMBIA, S.C. (July 9, 2019) — A new Colonial Life survey finds Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Zers can all agree on one thing: 

Humans are best source of benefits information. 

While today’s younger employees grew up with powerful computers that can reach the world fitting into their pockets, it doesn’t mean the Internet has become a trusted source for advice on protecting their families, finances and futures.

In a survey of 1,506 full-time U.S. employees, Colonial Life found just 11% of employees name the Internet as the place they turn to learn about benefits at enrollment season each year. That number falls to just 10% of Millennials and 7% of Generation Z workers.

Meanwhile, 76% of all employees turn to humans – HR professionals, coworkers, family and friends. It’s even higher for Millennials (83%) and members of Generation Z (91%).

While providing information through digital tools is critical, it’s not the best way for employers to engage their workers, says Colonial Life’s Richard Shaffer, senior vice president for growth markets. 

“Many benefits providers and experts are running away from human interaction and human touch in their business model,” Shaffer said. “But we are finding that now, more than ever, employees want to turn to a trusted human for benefits advice.”

While every generation depends on people for benefits support, an employee’s age does impact which humans are trusted advisers. Baby Boomers and Gen X workers prefer to turn to HR professionals (50% and 42%, respectively). But younger employees turn to coworkers (26% for Millennials and 31% for Gen Z) and friends and family (22% for Millennials and 37% for Gen Z).

“It makes sense that younger workers may turn to people they know and trust – like coworkers and family – for benefits advice,” Shaffer said. “But it may not make sense if those coworkers and family members aren’t benefits experts. That’s why Colonial Life offers more than 6,000 benefits counselors for employees to talk to – at no cost to the employers.”

About the Study
Colonial Life worked with Dynata to conduct a survey of 1,506 full-time U.S. employees between 18 and 70 years of age between Jan. 28 and Feb. 1, 2019.