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Strategies for improving your employee benefits communications

strategies for improving employee benefits communication

In today’s job market, retaining top talent is essential. One method for gaining a competitive edge in keeping your employees is to clearly highlight your company benefits program. Ensuring that employees understand their benefit options is in your company’s best interest, as it helps manage costs and showcases how much you value your workforce.

Eliminate confusion; control costs

Benefits information can be very confusing, for anyone that doesn’t understand healthcare and related industry terminology. Case in point, one study showed that only 20 percent of employees surveyed said they had enough information in order to make an informed decision about their benefits.

Developing an effective benefits communication strategy helps ensure that employees understand their options and have enough information in order to make smart, educated choices. This in turn can help keep benefit costs under control for your business. An AFLAC Workforce Report states that 56 percent of employees believe they waste up to $750 each year because of mistakes made when choosing their health insurance benefits.

Keep this in mind when developing your own internal communications. The time you spend “translating” information from your benefits providers can make a real impact on both you and your employees’ bottom line.

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Increase employee satisfaction

Employees often overlook the importance of a benefit simply because they don’t realize its true value. Emphasizing the value of your benefits is important because, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, employees consistently rank available benefits among the top contributors to their job satisfaction, and employees who are satisfied with their jobs tend to work harder and stay longer with your company. Utilize your benefits communications as an opportunity to increase the perceived value of your benefit offerings and you’ll encourage a happier workforce.

Develop your strategy for success

Clearly communicating benefit offerings to your staff does take thoughtful planning. These four strategies will help your company get started in the right direction.

1. Communicate year round, in small doses

A common mistake many companies make is to distribute all benefits communications just once a year—usually around open enrollment. Doing so can overwhelm employees who may not have the time or interest to tackle a mountain of confusing benefits material. Instead, aim to execute a year-round communication strategy that delivers information in small, easy to understand doses.

2. Plan ahead and stay up-to-date

Your communication pieces should be timely and relevant, which will involve purposeful calendar planning and scheduling. Be strategic about what you say and when you send it. For example, give employees plenty of time to review information if a deadline is involved. Similarly, your company should stay aware of any mandates that require companies to inform employees about certain benefit offerings. For example, back in 2013, employers had to notify employees about the Health Insurance Marketplace. Staying informed about benefits communication regulations is key to keeping compliant.

3. Make it interesting

Think of your communication strategy in terms of a marketing campaign—it should be branded, engaging, and simple to understand. Focus on both informing employees and getting them excited about working for your company. It may be helpful to develop different types of content – email, print, video, employee meetings, and so on. Since your communication strategy is ongoing, consider spotlighting more than just healthcare information. Employees may also be interested in optional benefit programs, such as pet insurance or tuition assistance.

4. Improve accessibility

A one-stop hub where employees can easily access all available benefits information is hugely beneficial. A digital portal where you can share notifications, news postings, and available online tools is highly effective and will make disseminating information simple. If a web portal is not an option, at the very least ensure that all your communication pieces are stored in one place—such as a shared computer drive or folder that is accessible to all employees.

Consider saving time by outsourcing

Your business may conclude that developing an effective benefits communication plan is not possible, due to lack of time or resources available. If that’s the case, consider the value of outsourcing your benefits administration to a trusted HR service provider. Outsourcing your benefits administration ensures that your employees will receive high quality information about their benefits and gives your company the freedom and peace of mind to focus on your businesses.

 

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should first consult their attorney, accountant or adviser before acting upon any information in this article.

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