Engaged employees are more connected to their work. Not surprisingly, their performance levels are higher, and they miss fewer workdays. Offering a quality benefits program supports employees’ wellbeing, promotes happiness and reinforces job satisfaction. Review five ways employers can engage employees through their benefits:
1. Show opinions matter – Employees have opinions, and they like to know their ideas count. But too often employees feel uncomfortable sharing their ideas because they believe management isn’t interested. Create a nurturing environment that encourages employees’ participation. Create a menu of benefits choices and share them with employees in informal settings. Ask questions about the options:
- Which benefits do you like and value most?
- What would you like to change about your coverage?
- Which plan options would you like to change?
- What new benefits would you want added?
- How would you describe your family and financial commitments?
Listen to employees’ ideas and provide feedback, underscoring how you appreciate their suggestions. Work to adopt their ideas and tell them what you’re doing.
2. Hit the refresh button – Freshen up benefits communication by sharing information in formats that reach employees in different ways. Be creative and look for ways to capture the attention of employees in different demographic groups by using a mix of communication tools, including social media channels, smartphone apps, YouTube, newsletters, emails and signage.
3. Serve up relevant information – A Society for Human Resource Management study discovered that millennial employees are concerned about their benefits and want to be engaged by their employers to help them manage their health and fitness. Design messages to fit employees’ specific needs. For example, at the beginning of each school semester, customize messages for employees with children detailing the importance of preventive oral, vision and hearing checkups to assist students in learning or playing sports.
4. Speak directly – Life is busy and employees are concerned about fulfilling work responsibilities, while also thinking about how to take care of their families and other important commitments. Provide benefits information throughout the year, not just at enrollment time. Remind employees and their dependent family members of valuable benefits features, such as preventive screenings and checkups. Share stories from employees on how they use their coverage. Keep messages interesting by using bullet-point copy and giving links where they can learn more about their benefits.
5. Communicate value – Employees appreciate their benefits packages, but they may not understand the full worth of their plans. Use charts, diagrams and statistics to show employees, and their family members the full value of their benefits, perks, rewards and other incentives offered throughout the year. Break down costs into daily or weekly figures and demonstrate how benefits actually save them money. Show the reduced amount they pay for health care vs. their out-of-pocket costs.
An employer’s most valuable asset is its employees. Invest in workers’ personal and professional welfare by providing quality benefits. Listen to employees’ ideas and work with your broker and insurance sales representative to design appropriate plans. Then tailor communications to capture the attention of different employee groups and to help them understand how to use their plans effectively and be wise stewards of their health care investment.