When communicating the pension plan, show your young employees the money, now

By Maggie Thompson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 07/21/2003

It’s amazing how the simple phrase, “Show me the money,” from the movie "Jerry Maguire," has become ingrained in our language. In fact, it’s become a motto for employees everywhere seeking pay increases. But it also characterizes the sentiment younger employees have about pension value and communication.

You’re probably thinking, OK — good movie, but what’s it got to do with pension communication? Well, everything. Employers are finding that to communicate the value of a pension to a 20-something employee, you’ve got to show them the money. But how? And more importantly, why?

Let’s think about the “why” first. Understanding why you need to communicate in certain ways goes to understanding your employees’ expectations of you, the employer. And as we all know, employee expectations are driven not only by their ages, but also by the reference points in their lives: world events, technology, work experiences and even childhood heroes. Groupings of these reference points have created the now familiar generational labels: veterans (born between 1922 and 1943), boomers (born between 1943 and 1960), Xers (born between 1960 and 1980) and nexters (born after 1980).