Companies are clearly scrambling these days for tools to help them with retention and recruiting. The company benefits package is a vital tool in that effort.

Yet a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that only 9 percent of HR managers interviewed believe their employees are knowledgeable about plan details. And more than three-quarters (78 percent) have serious doubts about the effectiveness of their plan communications strategy.

Despite the concerns around recruiting and retention, SHRM said that fewer than three in 10 respondents are leveraging the benefits package to recruit and retain top performers. The survey suggested plan designers aren't trying out new ideas to enhance their team-building; 85 percent listed health care as their top "leveraged" benefit to support recruiting, and 74 percent listed it as No. 1 for retention. All this despite the easier access to health insurance under PPACA.

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