benefits-crop-600x338If you’re a business owner, you know the importance of hiring the right people, placing them in the right position, and getting them the right training to do the absolute best job they can at serving your customers. And you’ve likely invested significant funds to achieve those goals.

But do your employees fully understand the the extent to which you’re investing in them? Because it seems that no matter how hard we try to offer attractive compensation packages, create a positive company culture, and keep employees challenged and engaged…we still can’t get rid of those negative perceptions floating around out there.

You know as well as we do. Benefits aren’t cheap. And if your employees don’t realize the value of they’re benefits, it’s even more likely you’re throwing away money on something they don’t even appreciate.

Communication is key.

We think there’s a solution to this problem. And, good news, it doesn’t involve spending more money or offering additional benefits. Instead, we want to talk to you about how to get the most value out of the same level of benefits you’re currently offering.

There are three steps you take immediately to help improve your employees’ perception of their benefits package.

  1. Communicate about the value of your benefits offerings throughout the year, not just during open enrollment.
  2. Give your employees resources to make them feel more empowered to make decisions and more confident in the options they’ve chosen.
  3. Give your employees plenty of options to allow them to access their benefits whenever and however they want.

Not only will this enhanced communications strategy help your employees better understand their benefits and use them more effectively. It will also change how they perceive their benefits and, in turn, how they perceive you as their employer.

 

What your employees don’t know could be hurting them. And you.

Consider this scenario. If you aren’t communicating about benefits throughout the year, then your employees’ feelings about their benefits are¬†probably based on what happened in your last open enrollment period. At that time, they probably saw their premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket limits all increase. Possibly even while their level of coverage decreased. It’s easy to see why they might begin to place less value on the benefits they’re getting.

What your employees might not know about is the fact that, even though your cost to offer those same benefits might have increased significantly, you may have chosen to absorb a considerable amount of the burden that could have ultimately fallen on your employees. It’s important to be transparent about why changes are made, why costs are increasing, and reiterate to your employees that your ultimate goal is to provide them with the best possible benefits at the lowest possible cost to them.

Make benefits interesting and relevant.

It doesn’t help that most material explaining employee benefits is confusing and uninteresting, especially if new employees are merely given a thick guide to their benefits and expected to figure it out by themselves. They won’t even bother.

The same is true for open enrollment. Most workers merely try to get through the process as quickly and painlessly as possible and then walk away just glad that they don’t have to deal with their benefits again for another whole year.

So what’s a better strategy? Think of your employees the way you think about your clients. They live in a world with immediate access to anything, from TV shows via Netflix to millions of products via Amazon Prime. They want help making decisions in the form of easy-to-find information and recommendations.

Benefits information should be available through multiple channels. It should be frequent and personal. And it should be relevant. Generic, company-wide emails aren’t the way to go. While an employee nearing retirement may not care about your new student loan repayment benefit, they definitely need to know how their retirement account is performing.

Remind employees often about their benefits, especially those that seem underused. Perhaps the reason¬†they aren’t participating in financial planning lunch ‘n’ learns or signing up for their annual flu shot is simply because they forgot or missed the memo entirely.

Most importantly, your communications should convey to your employees the genuine concern you have for them and their families. And they should express the extent of your investment in them. Employees who feel valued in this way will be more satisfied, productive, and appreciative of all that you do for them.