Year Round Employee Benefits Communication is Vital to Participation
Participation and Value Comes from Regular Employee Benefits Communication
Human resource and benefits professionals spend a great deal of time and effort to secure the best possible employee benefits and compensation for their people. But, without a strong benefits communication process, it can be difficult to get employees onboard.
A benefits communication policy should be part of every workplace, for a number of reasons. First, it gives an overview of the benefits offered to employees and their families. Second, it provides vital information about when and how to enroll in coverages. Lastly, it ensures that employees stay up-to-date on important changes and improvements to their employee benefit packages.
Employee Benefits are an Important Part of Work
Before negating the value of communicating benefits in the workplace, it’s critical to understand the crucial role that benefits play. A recent workplace survey, conducted by MetLife, a leading provider of life insurance and other benefits, and published on the Society for Human Resource Management, indicated that three out of five employees believe that the benefits offered by their employer are the reason they stay there. The survey also indicated that more than half of all employees would pay more for benefits it this meant they would have a better choice in offerings.
It’s clear that a strong employee benefits offering, coupled with ongoing benefits education about this can produce great results – like employee retention and a more effective workforce.
The best benefit communication policy is built around total awareness of company compensation, or a total compensation program. Education should be at the heart of this. Additionally, a benefits communication plan isn’t just something to focus on around the annual open enrollment period alone – it should be a year-round effort.
Why Benefits Communication Campaigns Should Be All Year Long
When talking about employee benefits, it’s natural to get caught up in the short period of time when employees become eligible for benefits. Depending on a company’s policies, this could be within days of being hired, a year after hiring, or strictly during open enrollment. The rest of the time, employees are not given access to employee benefits enrollment, but they do have general questions and concerns about certain aspects like:
- How to obtain information about health care providers who participate in their health plans
- Where to find out about out of pocket costs, annual deductible limits, and monthly rate changes
- What to do if they have a question about a medical bill or need help with a dispute
- How to make changes to their health coverage if something new happens in their life or career
- If they have specific coverage for certain health related tests and procedures
- When they should make changes or the deadlines to enroll in certain types of wellness coverage
While this is not an exhaustive list of the concerns and questions that employees may have about their benefits, it gives you an idea of what your employee benefits communication plan can and should cover. It also highlights why benefits communication should be a year-round effort.
Benefits Communication Best Practices
There are certain employee benefit communication best practices that have been shown to produce great results, when instituted in the workplace. Here is a rundown.
#1 – A Central Web-Based Technology for Employee Benefits Management
In the past, human resource managers were tasked with getting employees to fill out paper enrollment forms and then they were passed on to some unknown third-party firm for processing. Employees had little contact or knowledge of their plans. Now, the movement towards more information-rich benefits technology that enable employees to enroll, find information, and seek live support is the best way to manage communications.
#2 – Strong Employee Benefits Communications in Multiple Formats
Along with a benefits website that provides on-the-go access to employee health insurance information, communication from the home office must be delivered in multiple formats. Sending emails and text messages to remind employees about benefit enrollment periods and deadlines is a start. Giving employees written documentation to read over and refer to is another method. Educating employees with live and online presentations, as well as social media posts are also effective in a modern age.
#3 – Ongoing Benefits Education and Support from Executive Management Teams
The only way any employee benefits communication strategy is ever going to be successful is if there is full buy-in and support from the upper management team. Bring all managers up to speed on employee benefits policies and then ask them to keep their teams informed about changes and updates. Make sure they have access to the best resources to accomplish this. Get the executive team talking about benefits and how much value they bring to the workplace.
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