Employees communicating
Employee Benefits

Employee Archetypes: Are You Meeting Your Employees Where They Are?

Mark Fitzgibbons
Mark Fitzgibbons
Communication Director, Employee Benefits

My colleagues at ethOs often recommend that employers pay attention to the whole employee journey and meet each of their employees where they are in that journey. Meeting people where they are is about giving others what they need, when they need it. It’s a hard lesson to keep in mind, if you’re regularly trying to help other people — like, say, an employee benefits professional has to do!

While we all have plenty of expertise in the arcane nuances of the employee benefits world, most of the questions we get aren’t really asking for knowledge; they’re asking for help. So, when creating employee benefits communication materials (or answering employee questions), we need to meet employees where they are at and provide the support they need.

While a detailed demographic analysis can provide a wealth of insight into your organization, a recent report from Morning Consult identifies five employee archetypes and recommends how to use these profiles to guide your communication approaches and increase engagement.

Traditionalists (30 percent of your people) — “A job is just a job,” is these workers’ motto, with many reporting high job satisfaction and a strong preference for in-person work. Traditionalists are most likely to work hourly jobs.

Communication tip: Providing for their family is important to this group. They prefer in-person work and are comfortable going into the office. Their intent to leave for another job is below average, but those who do will say they feel underpaid.

Transactionalists (19 percent) — These employees skew younger, and of the five types, have the highest percentage of Gen Z workers. Transactionalists report lower job satisfaction and tend to not prioritize career growth. They are least likely to have work benefits and are often employed part-time.

Communication tip: They are the least financially secure, least satisfied with their jobs, feel less pride in their jobs, and are the least likely to leave their job.

Aspirationalists (18 percent) — These are the workers who are driven by career purpose, finding high levels of job satisfaction, and who feel most fulfilled by work. Aspirationalists “live to work” and are most likely to be Millennials with dependents.

Communication tip: They are drawn to employers with strong cultures; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&)I policies; and environmental issues. They’re also drawn to lucrative career paths and more likely to look elsewhere for a new role.

Minimalists (17 percent) — Employees in this category don’t expect a lot from their jobs. While they don’t often prioritize their work, minimalists are relatively satisfied with their jobs. They also skew male, are most likely to be remote or hybrid, and are also most likely to be salaried.

Communication tip: They feel underpaid, want a better work-life balance, strongly prefer a hybrid work environment, and suffer from burnout.

Lifestylists (16 percent) — These workers have the strongest preference for remote jobs and see work as a means to support their personal priorities. Lifestylists skew female, are likely to be hourly, are mixed tenured, and tend not to have dependents.

Communication tip: Practical considerations, such as flexibility, work-life balance, competitive pay, feeling safe at work, and quality benefits are very important to them. They are wary of what they stand to lose by returning to the office.

Create Messages for All Employees

Whether you use demographics, archetypes, or some other lens, you’ll find that you can’t craft just one message and assume it’s going to resonate with everyone. You can’t even assume it’s going to resonate with a majority of employees.

Believing that all of your employees come to work for the same reasons is a surefire way to undermine your internal communication strategy. If your messaging focuses on only one of the archetypes, you’ll be actively alienating a significant portion of your people.

If you’d like assistance in shaping your communication strategies and messages to better meet your employees where they’re at, reach out!  Our team of communication experts would be happy to help!

Explore more from Holmes Murphy