Benefits packages can determine whether a candidate decides to accept your job offer or your talent competitor’s job offer. So, how are you communicating your company’s employee benefits? Hardcopy manuals? Email? Well, as with most business happenings, there are best practices in employee benefits communication. If you’re still using hard copy handbooks full of employee benefits, there are several things you need to change in order to improve employee knowledge of their company benefits. We know it’s not easy, so we’ve compiled a short how-to to help you get started.
Step one: Assess chosen method of communication
What do you currently use? In today’s modern workplace, the paper bound handbooks of your parents isn’t really the best option anymore. Employees will pick it up once, maybe open it, and never look at it again. Subsequently they won’t know what you offer and how exactly you take care of your team. Denise Perkins, CEBS, gives these suggestions of award-winning benefits programs:
- Create a video
- Target demographics
- Communicate through multiple channels
- Make it fun
Step two: Evaluate employee benefits communication
Some companies use videos, some use email, some use video, whichever way you choose to go about communicating benefits you have to decide how you’ll word these conversations. You’re likely to have more than one generation working for your organization, so you can’t simply target Millennials or Baby Boomers as they respond to language differently. In fact, only 1 in 4 Millennials find employee handbooks helpful, compared to 1 in 3 non-Millennials.
Step three: Choose a device
Whether you participate in the BYOD (bring your own device) mentality in the workplace, your employees will default to certain mediums of communication. Pay attention to where your employees frequent, whether that be your internal communication system, or a mobile-accessible document that provides updated information on a regular basis. Only 3-5% of organizations use up-and-coming means of employee communication (to include benefits communication). Social media and texting are great ways to tell employees of changes, but it’s always a good idea to have it in writing for the employees who prefer a hard copy.
Step four: Alert employees to any and all changes
What good are these changes if your team has no idea there have been alterations to the system they never knew existed? Tell your employees of the changes with the old benefits communication method, and then transition to the new one. More than half of employees agree they need help understanding how the company benefits fit their needs – especially with younger workers. Education is critical, and it’s your job to be the teacher.
Step five: Watch awareness grow
When you’ve created a system that goes where your employees are, they’ll be more likely to voluntarily review the information. Sometimes they still need help understanding the material about employee benefits you’ve given them, 37% in fact. But when you give employees benefits information in an avenue they frequent, benefits awareness will grow. Aside from the growth in awareness about the benefits themselves, effective benefits communication instills a sense of stability and morale throughout your team.
Employee benefits packages can be confusing for some employees, mostly because the paper bound package information you gave them during their orientation 2 years ago hasn’t been opened. It’s not that they don’t appreciate the effort, employees just don’t default to hard copies anymore. However, you can see a growth in awareness if you assess how you communicate this information, choose a device for this communication and tell employees about the changes. Employee benefits communication material doesn’t have to be a struggle for you and your employees. Contact us to see how we can improve your employee benefits communication.
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.