Get the Word Out About Your Benefits
Posted on Friday, June 07, 2019 Share
If your company pays for an employee benefit but nobody knows about it, what is your return on investment? The answer is, not much!
Offering a first class set of health, wellness and retirement benefits is a vital component in attracting and retaining top talent. But it's only part of the battle. In fact, a recent study from the Voluntary Benefits Association indicates that even good benefits are only half as effective as they could be when it comes to employee retention, unless the employer implements a first-class education effort to get the word out. To get the most out of your investment in benefits, you also have to commit resources to communicating those benefits and their value to your work force.
Here are some of the best practices from around the industry to help you do just that.
Let Your Carriers Help You
Your insurance carriers and other vendors have a vested interest in keeping people enrolled in their plans. They also have the benefit of economies of scale when it comes to educating people on the benefits of their plans, products and services. Contact your agents and vendors and ask them to send you educational materials describing the benefits of their plans. These are usually available for free to employers, or at very low costs compared to the benefits. Your agent or vendor representative may be able to come to your worksite for a Q&A as well.
Make sure they are up to date: There have been recent changes to health care laws, and therefore, health care plans, that may make older education and promotional materials obsolete.
Don't Buy Based on Benefits or Premiums Alone
Even the best plans don't do much to encourage employee loyalty if the benefit provider company doesn't have a robust customer service presence to help you administer the plan. Look for vendors and carriers with fast, reliable websites and modern technology. Also, try calling the same toll-free number your employees will use when they have questions about the plan. Are you kept on hold for a long time? Are representatives unable to answer basic, common questions? That's the experience your employees will have when trying to deal with the carrier themselves.
These communications are important if you have younger workers. Employees in their teens, 20s and 30s are more accustomed to receiving information electronically and are more likely to read blogs than traditional company newsletters. Don't neglect social media, such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter! Consider involving someone of this age group in your employee communications effort. That person's presence at the table can give your HR staff valuable insights into how young people are using media and technology.
Use the Employee Break Area
The break area, or employee lounge, can be a good place to leverage for your communications effort. Your bulletin board can hold more than just the mandatory Department of Labor posters and job openings. Place additional materials describing your employee benefits there for employees to read during their breaks.
Get rid of the faded-looking brochures with the antiquated fonts and 80s style haircuts in the photos. Nobody is looking at them. Get the vendor to send you new materials, and target younger workers.
For best results, reserve a specific section for new announcements – and keep it refreshed frequently.
Use inserts and stuffers in employee paycheck envelopes and pay stubs. If you issue paper checks, you know for sure these envelopes will get opened.
Don't underestimate employee meetings. Yes, they're old school. But these meetings give your senior managers a chance to communicate with workers eyeball to eyeball about why they have these benefits in place and why the company leadership believes it's important.
Have an agenda and on-target printed materials ready to supplement the meeting. Also, have HR, senior management and representatives from your carriers and other benefits vendors on hand, if possible, to answer specific plan questions that arise.
An additional benefit: Employee feedback can help your senior executives sense employee attitudes toward these benefits and help them make adjustments to help your benefit plan be more responsive to your workers' needs.
You may notice a bit of redundancy in the suggestions above. This is because different workers receive information in different ways. Some workers who tune out during employee meetings get tremendous value out of a well-timed brochure. Some workers are very comfortable using Twitter to keep up with events, while others view Twitter as a non-professional means of communication. To maximize the effectiveness of your communications effort, use different means of communication in combination to get your message out.
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Disclaimer: The information contained in Dulin, Ward & DeWald’s blog is provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or legal advice on any subject matter. Before taking any action based on this information, we strongly encourage you to consult competent legal, accounting or other professional advice about your specific situation. Questions on blog posts may be submitted to your DWD representative.