The Power of Two: Are employees excited about benefits?
For a business, an employee benefits program is the second largest expense on its balance sheet (second only to payroll). So, for what you will spend on it, are your employees happy with your benefits program, do they make the most use of them possible? If not, why?
A program that is intentionally built and communicated properly is an extremely valuable tool for attracting and retaining the best possible talent for your organization. Offering packages with no thought isn’t enough to achieve this goal and unfortunately many decision makers fall prey to the “set it and forget it” approach. To make an impact, you must actively engage your employees and build interest in your benefits program. Here are our best strategies to turn benefits into a powerful tool for employee management.
One of the most powerful ways to drum up real excitement and engagement around anything — especially at the office — is effective communication. Employees need to truly understand the full scope of what’s available to them, how to use them easily and, most importantly, how benefits can make their lives better.
Here are communication strategies we employ.
Regular messaging: Make sure information about your offerings are clear, concise and readily available across multiple platforms. Consistently communicate updates and changes to keep employees informed. They will feel respected and in the loop with your organization.
Multiplatform communication: Use a variety of different channels based on your audience, including email, intranet, audio, video, and written and in-person meetings to reach all the different segments of your workforce. Remember, there are at least five generations in the average workforce, and each receives and retains information differently.
Personalization: Craft your messaging to individual employee needs and preferences. Example: Highlight wellness benefits to health-conscious employees, outside services to those looking for alternatives, and retirement options to those planning for their future.
Hosting educational meetings that pertain to your benefits program is a highly effective way to engage employees and make sure they know exactly what they need to know. These meetings provide employees with a deeper understanding of the program and its potential advantages. We also find it valuable when our clients bring in outside specialists to discuss all things related to benefits. These include retirement planning, health and wellness, and financial management. Well-planned in-person meetings also encourage questions and better discussions, making employees feel more involved and valued.
Real-life success stories will inspire and motivate employees to take more advantage of your benefits program. It makes things real. When we present, we share stories of employees who have benefited from programs, whether it's through improved health, financial stability, or work-life balance. These humanize the program and demonstrate its real-world impact; allowing employees to relate to and imagine where they can use their benefits program for a positive impact.
For example: During one of our presentations to an employer on disability packages, we shared a story about someone who was in a devastating accident in the 90s and was permanently disabled. To this day, he tells us how thankful he was to have coverage and that if he had not had disability insurance, he and his family would have lost their house and would have struggled so much more.
Feedback and customization
Give employees a voice in building their own benefits program. Allow them to provide feedback on what works for them and what doesn't. The best way to gather this information is to conduct surveys or focus groups (or candid one-on-one talks) to get honest input. Use this intel to adjust and make improvements to your program, demonstrating that you are listening, value employee opinions and are committed to meeting the needs of your team. This is a good example of how you can build a satisfied workforce.
As you know, it’s always beneficial to consistently connect with employees, but specifically to make sure they are making the most of their benefits and your valuable resources. Provide resources like one-on-one consultations (with your benefits broker or a member of their team) to help employees understand and navigate the complexities of the program. We have found that check-ins greatly improve the employee’s interpretation of an employer’s benefits program as well as their knowledge and understanding of what’s being offered.
Building a buzz and positive energy around your benefits program requires a proactive and multilayered approach. Effective communication, education and engagement strategies all help employees fully appreciate the value of their benefits and, more importantly, actively participate in the different programs offered. When employees are excited about their benefits, they are happy and when employees are happy, they are more likely to stay with your organization, perform their best, and contribute to a positive workplace culture.