You’ve probably heard the old saying “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” It basically means that the loudest wheel (or in the case of a business, employee) will be given the most maintenance (or in this case, attention). While heeding this instruction may serve you well if you’re working on a bicycle, it could actually hurt your company’s benefits program. Why is this? The answer is simply because the desires of your most vocal employees aren’t always representative of the rest of your workforce.
The Danger of Misconception
If your employee benefits package is full of offerings the majority of your team doesn’t want, participation rates will suffer. The healthiest among them may not sign up for your health insurance plan, resulting in a smaller group (of potentially unhealthy workers) and driving up costs for your entire organization. They may opt out of supplemental benefits—such as life insurance—and increase the cost per participant of providing those opportunities. Even worse, unwanted benefits don’t enhance engagement. They do nothing to improve productivity or reduce employee turnover.
Fortunately, there are ways you can reach out to your workforce—including those who rarely speak their mind—and find out what benefits really matter to the majority of your staff.
Start With a Survey
You can use free or low-cost software such as SurveyMonkey to get a baseline reading on your employees’ opinions of your current benefits package. Basic questions you might want to ask include:
- On a scale of one to five, with one being the worst and five being the best, how would you rate the benefits package at Company XYZ?
- Given your personal situation, how would you rank the benefits provided within the package from least to most important? (Provide list of current benefits.)
- What other benefits should Company XYZ offer?
- Do you know how to sign up for benefits at Company XYZ?
- How can Company XYZ make it easier for you to sign up for or utilize your benefits?
You can require employees to complete the survey or incentivize their participation by offering a prize. Make sure your workforce knows that the responses will remain confidential and anonymous.
Consider Potential Changes
If your employees indicate they are overwhelmingly satisfied with their benefits package, then congratulations! If not, it’s time to consider potential changes based on their responses. Enlist the assistance of your benefits advisor to investigate your options. You may want to choose a new employer-sponsored health insurance plan, replace less popular voluntary insurance with new options, or add a few supplemental benefits such as a workplace wellness program or group gym membership.
Make an Announcement
Whether you’ve made changes to your benefits package or are sticking with the status quo, you need to communicate the results of the evaluation to your workforce. Statistics show that most people need to receive a message seven times before they take action. Over the course of a few weeks, use a mix of mediums to announce company benefits information. Options include paycheck envelope stuffers, bathroom and break room posters, email announcements and group meetings with your benefits plan administrator. Contact your benefits advisor for additional suggestions.