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Communicating Clearly: Helping Employees Understand and Maximize their Benefits

May 16, 2016

How-is-My-Workers’-Comp-MOD-CalculatedYou’ve built a great benefits package for your employees. Congratulations – the hard work is done! Or is it? Almost as important as the work that goes into the development of a comprehensive benefits package is the way it’s communicated out to employees.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how great the benefits are if employees don’t understand and utilize them. Not effectively communicating your benefits is a lost opportunity. Not only have you made a significant investment, but a comprehensive benefits package also make employees more satisfied with their jobs and helps attract top talent.

So how can you make sure your employees are aware of and maximize the benefits you offer?

    1. Tell the Whole Story –Make sure employees understand the “big picture” of the benefits package they receive. If possible, consider providing a comprehensive benefits statement to employees so they understand their total compensation – from salary and medical benefits to retirement plans and stock options, to non-traditional and intangible benefits like flexible work arrangements, tuition reimbursement and community volunteering opportunities. Where possible, assign a total value. Each workplace has a unique benefits story that needs to be personalized.
    2. KISS – Keep it simple, silly! Make sure your mass communications about benefits to employees aren’t overwhelming and that the language is relevant and easy to understand. Chose the highlights and provide links or references where employees can go to get more information or link to a full benefits handbook. Also consider if you need to provide benefits materials in other languages or hard copies to employees without access to technology.
    3. Lead with the WIFM – Always think about benefits from an employee’s viewpoint and think about the “WIFM – “What’s In It For Me?” For example, if you’re offering an incentive for employees to participate in biometric screenings, lead with what they’ll get out of participating.
    4. Make It Accessible – Where possible, utilize technology to communicate benefits information and even make your full benefits information and employee’s compensation statements available via your company’s intranet site, if relevant. At the same time, if you have a workforce that is out in the field without access to technology, consider different tactics and communication vehicles.
    5. Add the Human Touch – There’s nothing more frustrating than having a question that you can’t get an answer to and having nowhere to turn. Make sure you provide an internal contact or hotline that employees can call to get their personalized questions answered. Similarly, consider holding benefits fairs and in-person opportunities for your employees to learn about their benefits.
    6. Follow Up – Create a consistent schedule of communication around benefits so that it’s top of mind and employees are being reminded of what is available to them. Consider timing as well. For example, ensure employees are aware of open enrollment windows and beef up communications educating employees on options leading up to the period.

Communicating your full benefits package to employees not only ensures they are fully utilized but it also demonstrates the investment and value you are placing in your employees, leading to a more engaged, satisfied and productive workforce.

michael_noddin

Michael Noddin

Group Life and Health Manager

mnoddin@foundersgrp.com

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