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During the recession, and even still today, employee benefits have continued to play an important role in an employee’s decision on where to work.  Employers are shifting more of the health insurance cost burden to their employees.  As a result, employees are having to make some incredibly tough decisions regarding their benefits, especially their health coverage.

What this means for employers is that they need to do a better job than ever of empowering their workers to make informed decisions, starting from day one in their employee orientation.  They need to know where to go to get the information they need, such as what their out-of-pockets costs could be and whether their family doctor is part of an insurer’s network.

Ongoing communication is also key to helping employees stay engaged.  Be proactive as well as approachable for those times when employees have questions that aren’t answered elsewhere.  Anticipate what they want and need to know, rather than focusing only on what you want to tell them.

Also important in a consumer-driven market is the need to offer a more competitive and all-encompassing benefits package.  In addition to the standard medical, vision, and dental plans, consider offering other perks like identity theft and legal services.  And, of course, there’s always voluntary benefits.  Even though employees often cover 100% of the cost for these benefits (at a discounted group rate), they’re still a great way to make sure all of their needs are covered.

As it becomes increasingly difficult for employers to offer competitive, cost-effective benefits to their employees, it’s equally important to communicate with them about the benefits that are available to them.  By educating them and giving them the tools they need to make the best decisions for their family, employers have a great opportunity to retain their best talent.

For more information on this topic, you can read the full article on BenefitsPro.