Salary alone is not enough to recruit and retain your industry’s best professionals. A comprehensive benefits package is necessary as well. Most employers know this, and they spend billions of dollars a year on benefit offerings as a result. However, the recruitment and retention value of any benefits program is wholly dependent on employee participation. An outstanding package, complete with all the bells and whistles, is essentially worthless if few of your employees elect to enroll.
Fortunately, there’s a simple key to maximizing participation rates; communication. Here are four keys for effective employee benefit communication
Don’t wait until new employee orientation to introduce the value of your company’s benefits package. Mention the benefits offered in your job postings. Talk more about them when interviewing prospective new hires. When you make an employment offer, reiterate them once again. If your top candidate is entertaining more than one opportunity, you can bet he’ll consider your benefits package.
A recent survey conducted by one insurance company found that a mere 32 percent of employees are comfortable making decisions about benefits offered by their employers. Regular communication about your company’s benefits package can increase awareness, understanding, and as a result, participation. Don’t rely on annual open enrollment periods alone. Consider a monthly benefits newsletter, quarterly benefits lunch-and-learns, and webinars employees can access at any time to learn more.
Jargon-filled booklets about health insurance, life insurance and retirement plans are real employee turnoffs. In various surveys, employees have suggested that easier to understand documentation would improve their utilization of the benefits offered by their employer. They’d also like documentation personalized to their needs and opportunities to meet face to face with benefits experts.
Your employees know exactly how much compensation to expect in each paycheck, but they probably have no idea how much their benefits are worth—even if they’re participating in the program. Don’t focus on individual offerings but on the total value of your company’s benefits package. This will include employer-paid taxes, commuter-assistance programs, voluntary insurance, vacation time, sick days and training opportunities as well as your employer-sponsored health plan, pension fund or 401(k) matches.
Employees who understand their benefit options and appreciate the value of the package offered are more likely to participate—maximizing enrollment levels. However, effective benefits communication is also essential if you want to retain your best employees. One recent survey found that 59 percent of workers would move on to a job with slightly lower pay if they believed it came with better benefits. Implement the suggestions above and talk with your benefits provider to make the most of your employee benefits program.