The first thing employees are looking for during the hiring process is employee benefits. Yes, the benefits package is sometimes even more important than salary. Employees now expect comprehensive benefits packages tailored to their personal needs—not just to broadly defined demographics.
But personalizing benefits packages starts with you truly understanding what your employees value and need. Benefits are only as valuable as each employee views them. So, if you have great flexibility and variety in your benefits package, making sure your employees know it will help them feel appreciated.
- Make benefits available on a medium that employees feel comfortable about using. With mobile-optimized HR software, employees can check on accrued vacation time quickly and easily when planning their next holiday. They can find out what hospital benefits cover when they get stung by a jellyfish while on vacation. Instant access to their information gives employees a sense of control and puts them at the heart of their benefits program.
- Convey benefits packages in layman’s terms. It’s not an easy task, but it’s critical that the benefits documentation be easy to read and understand so the value of each benefit is evident. Make sure your system gives employees access to a resource for asking questions in real time about which plan makes the most sense for them and their families.
- Openly share information about the cost of benefits. Be clear about how much your company is investing to make your employees happier and healthier, and your employees will have more appreciation for the benefits offered.
Conveying health benefits and coverage options to employees helps them become aware of the value in the plans offered. Help your employees understand how comprehensive and generous your policies are. Your messages to employees can explain the overall purpose of the availability of coverage and the provisions included.
You can help employees make more informed decisions about their benefits package. While HR is primarily involved in these conversations, other providers have resources:
- Insurance carriers, agents and brokers, financial advisers and third-party administrators of benefits programs can also provide information and education about options and enrollment processes for health plans and other benefits available to your employees. They can help workers enroll as well.
- Health benefits providers have valuable experience in communicating to employees. Ask for printed materials, websites and hotlines that can help employees take advantage of choices available.
- Health benefits specialists can focus on the notices and communications required under applicable laws and regulations. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act—ERISA—requires that employees have access to plan information.
You want to help employees find the most appropriate and cost-effective coverage for themselves and their family members. Consider your health coverage offerings as key components of your total benefits strategy, and communicate that to your employees. The best benefits package in the world isn’t much good if employees aren’t aware of how to take advantage of it. You want to fully leverage the benefits you provide employees.
Make sure there is an open line of communication with employees. Explaining benefits is only half the battle. Survey your employees—perhaps quarterly—to understand their satisfaction with their benefits. If you realize that a particular benefit isn’t working or isn’t valuable to employees, make whatever changes you can, and then communicate these changes clearly. Your employees will see that the company cares about their feedback.
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