Changes in Employee Benefits Communication You Should Make

When companies offer great employee benefits, everyone rejoices. When the entire team understands these benefits, that’s even better. Great benefits can help your employees feel more valued for their work, but helping employees knowtheir options can be the difference between a good company and a great one. Why? Because no matter what generation your employees are in or what state the market is in, communication is the key to make sure your benefits are as effective as possible. 

Employee Benefits Communication Needs a Boost

Even if you’ve put together a great employee benefits package, how do you ensure the team has access to this information? In the increasingly digital age, fewer workers read their employee handbooks than ever; 43% of Millennials and 30% of non-Millennials are reading their employee handbooks. Despite the plethora of information in these packets, employees would rather work than try to figure out the formula you use to calculate vacation days.

This doesn’t sit well with employers, either. They want employees to utilize thebenefits they’ve put together, but 45% of them aren’t satisfied with their current communications strategies. This makes a lack of benefits communication a problem for both parties, and companies need better ways of communicating with employees. Luckily, we have a few suggestions for you… 

New Generation, New Methods

Employee benefits communication is formal practice. When companies hand employees their employee manuals and cover the contents during onboarding, it’s for legal purposes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take a less formal approach to ensure your employees know their benefits. In fact, younger employees are more likely to pay attention if you use less formal methods. A recent survey by GuideSpark reveals that Millennials are 30% less likely to want to receive communications about benefits through snail mail.

What method should you try? Texting, of course. Though it may not seem like the best way to cover employee benefits information seriously, the GuideSpark survey shows that Millennials are an astounding 154% more likely than non-Millennials to want to receive their benefits information through text messaging. But for the companies with an even distribution of working generations, consider an online medium that combines the preferences of each. As you develop your benefitscommunication strategy, make sure you understand your audience and have adapted your methods of communication accordingly.

Benefits Help An Overworked America

Benefits communication can create a better working environment for your employees. Whether you decide to offer 2 weeks of vacation or 3 personal days, these fringe benefits can help keep your chronically stressed employees at ease. Americans are overworked, with 85.8% of men and 66.5% of women working more than 40 hours per week. Overworking can lead to sickness, stress and disengagement so it’s a problem we need to avoid.

One thing that alleviates work-related stress is a vacation, but the culture of work, the pressure to keep working for fear of underachievement, causes Americans to take, on average, only half of their vacation days. This is where employeebenefits communication comes in. Express the value of vacation time to employees without consequence so they feel free to take the break from work they so desperately need to refresh innovation and engagement.

Benefits communications could help employees get the refresher they need, prevent sick days and even increase engagement, so it’s important to properly translate that information. And as studies show, employers could do more to effectively communicate their benefits. Ensure you adapt your methods to employee demographics and accommodate the method of delivery to the generation. With better benefits communication and a healthier workforce, your employees will come into work engaged and ready to produce great work.

Bio: Tim Olson

Tim Olson, CEBS, CMFC and Managing Partner of the Olson Group, has been working with Nebraska employers for over 33 years and has been in the employee benefits industry since 1980. Presently, Tim works with employers assisting them with self-funded and fully insured medical and dental programs, consumer-driven health strategies, term life, long term disability insurance, section 125 flexible benefit programs, voluntary benefits, retirement programs, and executive compensation plans.  Tim currently works with more than 200 employers participating in 500 employee benefit plans, and covering more than 30,000 employees throughout Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas. You can read more about Tim and his insight on employee benefits needs on The Olson Group Blog.

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