Call me old fashioned but I couldn’t wait to declare my independence from my parents. But this is a different day and a different generation. The term “helicopter parent” is now being used with more and more frequency in the media to describe parents who hover around their children who are part of the so-called millennial generation, now ages 8 to 29. This group is made up of 80 million people in the United States born between 1978 and 1999.

And now as this generation is entering the workforce so are their parents. Sue Shellenger in The Wall Street Journal Online tells us that Helicopter Parents Now Hover at the Office. The millennial generation brings new challenges to the workplace and presents challenges for HR professionals integrating them into the workforce as Kathryn Tyler tell us about The Tethered Generation in the May, 2007 issue of HR Magazine.

So what does this have to do with 401(k) plans? Everything, if we want them to understand the importance of saving and investing, and to participate in our benefit programs. They have been using email, instant messaging (IM) and cell phones since childhood and adolescence, and we had better start rethinking the dynamics of communicating benefits.