A recent Harris Interactive Study, commissioned by insurer Unum Group, found that employees who receive frequent and thorough education on their available benefits are more likely to view their employer positively, and to feel that they are valued by them.
The survey establishes a positive correlation between employees’ understanding of their benefits and productivity.
Your employees will only value your health plans, 401(k) plans and other benefits after an intensive effort by management and HR professionals to educate them.
Think of it this way: After all the time and expense you have gone through to create a powerful menu of benefits for your employees to choose from, all of it will go unappreciated if you don’t make an effort to brief and educate them on your benefits package.
Tips from the study
Give employees time to review their benefits – The study found that workers who had at least three weeks to review their benefits were much more likely to report they were given enough time to consider benefits materials, and much more likely to report that they were able to make informed decisions.
Use three forms of media– The study found that the best results were obtained by companies that reached employees using at least three forms of media, including the Web, printed materials, and employee meetings and presentations.
The survey also found that communications are growing more and more important to employee relations.
Put your HR staff to work– Your HR staff should be working hard to communicate with your employees in a variety of ways, because they have a lot of clutter to cut through. That’s because workers are inundated with choices.
The days of perhaps having a health plan and pension plan and not much else are over. Section 125 “cafeteria”-style plans give workers a wide menu of benefits to choose from, which requires that employees process more and more information about their benefits.
They also have to learn about flexible spending arrangements and various kinds of health plans, as well as long-term care and disability insurance. Further, medical benefits have evolved from one-size fits all plans to increasingly consumer-directed options.
All of this places a higher burden on the employee, and requires much more in terms of educational services on the part of the employer.
Your employee benefits briefings have a half-life and, thanks to staff turnover, this is an ongoing process. It is an effort you need to renew time and time again.
Fortunately, help is available. We have a variety of tools at our disposal to help you convey the benefit and value of each component in your employee benefits menu.
This can boost enrollment, cut your payroll taxes in some cases, and help ensure your best employees – the ones with the most options – stay with you.