Helping Your Employees Get the Most Out of Their Benefits – Part 2

Lori NewsomeEmployee Benefits, Health Insurance, Human Resources

Employers know that carefully crafted benefits packages are an integral way to attract and keep the best talent. Employees are looking for more than base compensation: they want vacation time, retirement account access, on-the-job perks, and, of course, company subsidized health insurance.

Benefits packages aren’t just bonuses. 41% of employers say their benefits are a key component of their employee retention strategy because benefits can actually improve company loyalty.

But offering quality benefits packages isn’t enough. You have to make sure your employees actually use those benefits so they can realize that side of their compensation.

Make setting up benefits easy

Enrolling in health insurance, setting up a 401k, and even scheduling vacation time can be a challenge at some companies. Many employees don’t bother using their benefits because getting to them is a pain. If your employees can’t use their benefits, they essentially don’t exist.

In fact, a study in Health Services Research found that a large portion of work-related illnesses and injuries are never billed to worker’s comp insurance because employees aren’t aware it’s an option.

Use a system that allows employees to self-sign-up without bothering an office manager or human resources desk. Provide digital guides that clearly explain each step. If you do need them to talk with someone to set up their benefits, make sure this person is available all the time, not just during arbitrary enrollment periods.

Summarize benefits packages clearly

Many employees offer extensive benefits packages that can be quite complex. In fact, 40% don’t even understand their options.

If your employees don’t understand their benefits, they can’t use them properly. Most of your employees aren’t going to dig through their insurance packets or retirement account booklets. They are likely ignorant to many benefits that apply to them.

Use an online web portal or cloud-based documents to simply and clearly list the benefits that apply your employees and notify them when something changes. Ensure that there is always someone at your company (usually in HR) that thoroughly understands the benefits you offer.

Personalize their benefits

The best benefits packages are the ones your employees truly love. If you can appeal to their needs, you’ll build compensation packages your employees can’t find anywhere else.

For every employee, you surely have a number that accounts for their benefits package. Be willing to adjust this package based on your employees’ preferences. Instead of laying out a package, ask them directly what would make them happy. A younger person may be happy with a reduced healthcare plan in exchange for more vacation, whereas a family man/woman may trade in vacation time for a better health package.

Speak openly about your employees’ compensation

No, you shouldn’t announce everyone’s pay in a memo. But you should make it clear through positive interaction that your employees should be taking advantage of their benefits package because it’s part of their compensation. Instead of keeping quiet about that monthly gym membership to save a few dollars, encourage your staff to go with you to sign up. If your benefits package is well-budgeted, you shouldn’t hide it.

If you help your employees take full advantage of their benefits packages, you’ll foster a happy, loyal and productive workforce. Check out part one of this series for more tips!

Lori Newsome
Account Executive, Group Benefits

Sinclair 7-22-15-9