Communication is definitely more art than science. And when it comes to employee benefits, there are several reasons to start mastering both the art and science of communicating with your employees.
Here are five key reasons to up your communication game.
1. Benefits are more important than ever
As healthcare and coverage become increasingly expensive and harder to attain, employees are paying close attention to their benefits. High deductible plans and tight economic situations have made people more sensitive to out-of-pocket costs and more interested in what employers have to offer. As benefits become more meaningful and valuable to employees, a quality benefits program plays a much more significant role in employee attraction, engagement, retention, and satisfaction.
2. Healthcare remains uncertain
You know that feeling you get when the healthcare landscape is forever shifting beneath your business? Your employees have that same feeling. Taking their benefits for granted is no longer an option. Employees know it could change at any minute, and they are going to be looking to their employers, not just for coverage, but for reassurance. For stability. And for answers.
Yes, it’s important to be able to react and respond to employee concerns, but the best employers will take a proactive approach in communicating with employees about their benefits. This is a golden opportunity for employers to help alleviate some of the fear and confusion around health insurance while reinforcing the value they are offering.
3. You need a better ROI on your benefits program
Employees who have modest, but well communicated employee benefits consistently place a higher value on their program than those who have extremely rich, but poorly communicated programs. In other words, if your employees don’t understand what you’re giving them, they can’t possibly comprehend the value.
On the other side, when employees do know the ins and outs of their benefits plan, they tend to use it much more efficiently. By communicating your benefits plan clearly and often, you’ve given your employees a better understanding of its value and the tools to make better benefits decisions.
4. Social media has changed the rules
Like it or not, we all expect to be updated and communicated with constantly and in real time. Employers who do not embrace this mindset will be at a significant disadvantage. The traditional methods of communicating with employees are no longer sufficient. Making the most of your communication and technology resources get information to employees in creative, timely ways will keep your employees informed and, more importantly, build trust.
5. Employees have other options
There was a time when employees stuck with their companies out of loyalty. And another time where they stayed due to lack of opportunity. But with the unemployment rate at an all-time low, this is no longer the case. In a tight labor market, good employees are hard to find, and even harder to keep.
Transparency and communication will help your staff feel like a valued and integral part of your organization and its future. Companies can no longer think about benefits communication as an annual event. It has to be an ongoing endeavor, and a constant reminder that you care.
Don’t wait… Communicate!
There are many ways to educate your team about their employee benefits. Options are as diverse as your workforce. From old-school printouts to individual or team meetings to emails, apps, and games, the more accessible and pleasant you make it, the more your staff is likely to pay attention.
Don’t let another year slip by with minimal bits of benefits information leaking out to your team. Commit to delivering consistent, year-round messaging about the specifics of your plan and how your employees can access care when they need it.
An investment in benefits communication is an investment in the overall health of your employees. And your business.
Photo by Volodymyr Nikulin