Navigating Benefits

Generation X in the Workplace: Dental Care Preferences


  • Generation X has dental issues like everyone else, and they're also concerned about their family's dental problems

  • Individuals in this age group like honest communication and having access to a lot of information for comparison shopping

  • They will prefer email communication about dental benefits, although other traditional forms of communication could also be appreciated

Posted by January 31, 2019

There are a lot of characteristics unique to members of Generation X in the workplace—pertaining to both communication and health care—that set them apart from other demographics. For the past several years, millennials have dominated the corporate landscape. And while they’re currently the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, Generation X is not far behind.

It’s important for business owners and HR representatives alike to know the specific needs of Generation X workers when communicating about dental health care options. Here’s a look at the people in this age group, as well as their dental needs and their preferred methods of communication.

Dental Issues That Generation X Faces

Members of Generation X are often defined as being between the ages of 39 and 53, or born between 1965 and 1980. A 2015 survey by the American Dental Association found that individuals in this demographic typically have issues with dental pain in general (to the point they sometimes avoid smiling) and occasionally experience dry mouth as well as issues with chewing or biting. Gen Xers may also be worried about their children’s oral wellness. Although children’s dental health is often covered by traditional health insurance, offering supplemental options through your organization might be attractive to employees in this generation.

Gen X’s Concerns and Preferences

So, what does Generation X prefer most? This demographic is entrepreneurial and values information and access. They appreciate being kept in the loop, getting frequent feedback and receiving direct and truthful information. These individuals might also prefer shorter “sound bites” so they can access information and details faster. Additionally, they like to comparison shop, so the more information they have, the better.

Remember, Generation X isn’t immune to recessions. Some of them are still struggling financially and worry about taking care of their family and building their retirement savings. Gen Xers are skeptical and generally question things, but they’re also pragmatic and goal-oriented; they’re concerned about cost and value, and able to adapt to new technology because they grew up during the emergence of the personal computer. However, it’s important to note that they still value traditional forms of communication. They typically prefer email as their primary form of communication, versus face-to-face.

How to Communicate Dental Plans to Gen X Staff

Keep in mind Generation X’s preferences when communicating your organization’s dental plan options. These workers may seem skeptical at first, but ultimately, they like access to information, so giving them a lot of facts and figures can get their buy-in. Explain how regular dental checkups could help them in the long run by cutting down on even greater expenses down the line. That’s why dental plans are worth the investment.

It’s also wise to offer supplemental options for Gen Xer’s families, and give them frequent updates whenever dental benefits change. Members of Generation X would appreciate getting information about the company’s plans via email, but you can also make print brochures available. If you must have in-person meetings, keep them short and to-the-point. Finally, ask your health care broker to be available by email to answer any questions, since workers may feel more comfortable asking questions that way, rather than during a meeting.

As you can see, members of Generation X in the workplace may better understand the value in dental benefits if they know how these benefits will pragmatically save them money in the long run. They’re likely to respond particularly well to email outreach and having access to lots of information so they can comparison shop.

Are you looking for tools and resources that could help your colleagues better manage their dental benefits? Check out the Employer Toolkit on United Concordia Dental’s website.

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