Of all the things that your company offers in a compensation package, did you know that your benefits offerings are almost always considered the most important? In one study, nearly two-thirds of respondents noted that salary is not the deciding factor as to whether they will take or reject a job offer, with most noting that the quality and types of benefits factor very much into their decision making process. In fact, a second study found that more than half of workers would accept a job with a lower salary if it offered a better benefits package and in yet another study, three-quarters of those surveyed said that they would stay with their current employer because of the benefits that they offer.
Now, if you’ve been reading here for a while or, better yet, you’re already an Abel member, you know that we already see the value in benefits and we go out of our way to offer our clients the best benefits that we can, all at a price that they wouldn’t be able to secure on their own as a result of our collective purchasing power. This means that you have the rock solid health insurance, the best set up for your 401(k) program, and enough fringe benefits such as pet insurance, student loan forgiveness, and even discounted entertainment tickets to satisfy just about any interest your employees may have. But do you have a good plan for communicating all these wonderful perks to your people?
The good news is that there is more than one way to highlight your benefit offerings to workers. The bad news is that you will want to employ at least two or more of these modalities to make sure you reach even the most out-of-the-loop folks on your team. Below, we outline just a few of the best ideas for getting your point – and your perks – across:
Consider your audience:
Does everyone in your company speak English? Does everyone hold a college degree? The demographics of your company should dictate how you communicate with your employees on the topic of benefits and in general! Be sensitive to the varied levels of education and reading comprehension in your company and be sure that benefits news is delivered so that everyone can appreciate the information. Got a lot of folks that do not count English as their primary language? Consider offering your information in both English and their native language to reach the broadest number of employees.
Write the book:
Whenever you are giving benefits information, be sure that it is also put in writing! During the start of each new benefits “year” or when they first join the company, every employee should be given a handbook that includes an overview of their plan, as well as answers to frequently asked questions. While it isn’t feasible to print a new book every time there is a change, you should still provide a flyer or other handout that appropriately communicates the relevant information, as well as provides a point of contact for any follow-up questions (trust us, including this tidbit will save you from having to answer approximately 99% of the questions!)
If your company is tech savvy or you have a number of folks who are rarely in the office make use of your in-house intranet and add a benefits tab that includes a special spot for important updates, as well as the tried and true information available in the benefits handbook, that FAQ section, and the point of contact for those pesky follow-up questions. This is also a great space to warehouse forms that folks might want to access if they are making any changes to their current offerings or need to otherwise amend their perks.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so why not consider drawing up some cool infographics or other visual representation to pique interest in your various benefit offerings. A cute picture of a puppy, for example, is sure to grab the attention of the canine lovers in your company, but could also be used to draw attention to the pet insurance discount your company recently procured, whereas an infographic extolling the benefits of exercise could make for a great segue to discuss the various gym discounts and other wellness perks you’re able to offer to your workers.
Need to know basis:
One of the biggest barriers to employees really understanding their benefits is the sheer volume of information that is thrown at them! A new hire, for example, not only has to settle into a brand new company and learn the ropes of a completely foreign job, but often within hours of starting said new job, they must pick the insurance coverage options and other perks they (and their families!) will have to live with for the next year! If you have a delay period before benefits kick in, such as a 60-day requirement, give that new employee the benefits handbook and invite them to peruse it at their leisure, then in a few weeks, schedule some time to sit down and help answer questions. In this way, employees do not become overwhelmed by their options and can make better informed decisions.
Mark your calendars:
As we touched on above, in order to improve comprehension and reduce the risk of employees simply becoming overwhelmed, you might find that you must somewhat spoon-feed information to your workers. You can accomplish this by hosting regular brown-bag lunch meetings where employees are encouraged to pop in and learn about various aspects of their benefits package and ask questions, offering that same information in webinars or interactive Zoom meetings, or simply just providing employees with email prompts that draw their eye to key aspects of their benefits plan and remind them what’s on offer and how/when they can access it. In creating a robust calendar of educational opportunities using different modalities, you can reach folks at a time when they are available and most receptive to learning.
Poll the people:
As with just about anything benefits related, the best way to know if the perk is wanted and utilized is to ask the very people that you are giving them to! At a minimum, you should absolutely be crunching the numbers to determine which employees are using which benefits, but it’s also useful to actually understand why this particular benefit is or isn’t useful and what can be done to optimize it. Similarly, after you’ve rolled out a big benefits communication effort, you should again poll your workers to determine which methods were most effective at getting your point across and then you can whittle down your modalities until you find a solution that lets you provide the most information in the most impactful way.
How are you communicating benefits in your company? Have you found one of the above methods or perhaps one that we have not thought of more effective than others? Let us know in the comments!