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How to Communicate Benefits

 

Though you may be happy with the benefits package you offer, have you considered how easy the enrollment process is to navigate and whether your employees truly understand what's available to them?

Here are nine ways to ensure your staff members take full advantage of the benefits your company offers:

  1. Communicate — Your employees should be made aware of the benefits you offer. An initial discussion before they are hired and frequent communications thereafter will ensure everyone remains engaged and up-to-date.
  2. Educate — The size of your company shouldn't dictate how involved your benefits seminars are — the complexity of your plan should be the major influence. Often, smaller companies have generous plans, and more time may be needed to get the information across.
  3. Simplify — Communicate in language your employees understand. It may seem obvious, but if your staff members' first language is not English, consider offering bilingual benefits materials. You also should be sensitive to varied levels of education and comprehension.
  4. Put it in writing — All information about the benefits you offer should be in writing; otherwise, you will be constantly putting out fires. Every employee should be given a copy of your benefits handbook and an overview of how to locate commonly sought information.
  5. Go online — If your company uses an intranet site, it can serve as an easy way to communicate benefits information.
  6. Keep it relevant — Don't overwhelm your employees. If your health insurance plan doesn't provide coverage until 60 or 90 days have passed, your staff doesn't need to receive all of the details at the beginning of their employment. Rather, communicate the information as the time approaches for their participation in the program.
  7. Revisit — Periodically reiterate the details and costs associated with your benefits packages so that employees appreciate and understand what is available to them.
  8. Ask for feedback — Employee opinion surveys are an excellent way to measure the level of understanding that employees have about the benefits you provide.
  9. Offer assistance — Providing a direct number for employees to call when they have questions is another desirable facet of an employee benefits communications plan. A comprehensive benefits package is a wonderful perk for your employees, and educating them about the full range of options available will help ensure they take full advantage of what your company has to offer.

More than half (56 percent) of employees throughout the U.S. estimate they waste up to $750 annually because of mistakes made with benefits elections, according to a survey by Aflac WorkForces Report, which studied 2,500 U.S. respondents.

Only 16 percent felt confident that they weren't making mistakes during the enrollment process, and nearly one in four (24 percent) felt they had previously chosen the wrong level of insurance coverage for their needs.

The survey found that many Americans are on autopilot when it comes to the benefits selection process. Bottom line: They're unaware of all their options.

Best practices to consider to communicate benefits:

  • Survey your employees — You'll determine what they need and want.
  • Communicate year-round — Present elements of their benefits programs throughout the year. This helps employees retain the information, making open enrollment a smoother, easier process.
  • Offer voluntary benefits — According to the survey, more than 60 percent of employees would be somewhat likely to apply for employee-paid benefits if they were made available at group rates.
  • Market benefits offerings to employees — Engage and empower employees through marketing campaigns.

By using a mix of communications — online benefits portals, agent/broker enrollment sessions, employee newsletters and lunch-and-learn sessions — you can help employees understand what's available and how each plan works.

 

 

 

 
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Our firm provides the information in this e-newsletter for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. The information is provided "as is," with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.
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