Offering a comprehensive employee benefits package makes all the difference between attracting top-quality candidates and losing them to your competitors. An employee benefits package is one of the first things potential candidates will ask about during the interview process, and for some, a benefits package is more important than their salary.
For many workers, employer-provided benefits offer a sense of stability in a hectic world. Knowing that medical expenses are taken care of, a life insurance plan is set up, and a retirement savings account is growing can bring peace of mind. But, sometimes, employee benefits packages can be a bit complex and confusing. It can be hard to accurately explain all of the ins and outs of your benefits policy, so here are some tips that will help your communication be as clear and concise as possible.
Make the benefits information easily accessible
Accessibility is a big hurdle to climb when it comes to your employee benefits packages. The best thing any business owner can do is to make all information easily available on a medium that your employees feel comfortable using. Since benefits can vary widely from employer to employer, it can take some time for employees to feel comfortable understanding how benefits work, so you will want to keep everything in one place for easy access.
With the wide variety of HR software available, this is much easier than you think! There are many user-friendly platforms available that keep all the information an employee would want to know in one place. For example, they can see their bank of PTO hours, access their health insurance card, and learn the specifics of disability coverage. When employees have instant access to all their important benefits information at the touch of a button, they will have a sense of control that they are at the center of their benefits program.
Use new-hire orientation to your advantage
One of the best methods of explaining comprehensive employee benefits packages is by giving employees all the information they need as soon as they start working at your business. Any business owner needs to make sure each and every new hire is properly informed, so use new-hire orientation to your advantage and carve out time to educate new team members fully.
Be sure to provide every hire with a detailed, printed overview of every benefit offered, step-by-step instructions on how to access benefits information, and a frequently asked questions document. It is also a good idea to have one of your existing employees be your business’s benefits resource. This person can either be an HR professional or an employee who has been with the organization for a while and is available to answer any question, big or small, about anything related to benefits. When your employees are given a resource like this, they are more likely to feel comfortable and knowledgeable about their plan.
Carve out time to specifically go over medical benefits
Medical benefits are usually the largest piece of the benefits puzzle, so it is always a good idea to carve out some time to go over medical benefits in extreme detail. Generally speaking, this is twice a year; once for all new-hires when they are brought on the team, and once before open enrollment starts in the fall, as this is the only time in the year any employee can change their healthcare plan. You’ll still need to communicate with your team regularly if there are any changes to your plan, but a business-wide meeting or conference is always a great idea.
Keep in mind, the spouse may be the person that is the benefits person in the employee’s home. Find a way to communicate to the spouses as well.
Health benefits can be notoriously hard for even employers to understand, so don’t hesitate in bringing in a health benefits professional to come and lead these meetings and answer questions for you. Remember, you most likely are enrolled in the plan as well and may have some questions you need to ask for yourself! That’s what professionals are for.
Explain the “why” of your benefits offerings
Sure, you’ve thoroughly explained the “what” of your benefits package. But that may not answer all of your employee’s questions, so you’ll need to emphasize why you have provided what you have. It is common for most employees to feel both uneducated and confused about why specific things are offered in your plan, so take the time to adequately explain your reasoning.
For example, if your health care offerings are changing due to updates within the Affordable Care Act, explain why. Or, if you provide specific personal days that are meant to be for mental health days instead of vacation days, say that! Not only will being overly transparent about your “why” aid in your employee’s understanding, but it will also help to show a more personal side of you and your business.
Share openly about the costs of benefits
Your employees need to know that they feel trusted and valued as workers on your team. One of the best ways of showing this is to be completely open and honest about how much you are spending on their benefits packages. Most employees don’t realize how much their employer pays for their personal benefits plan, and seeing the number printed on paper will go far to add in their appreciation for both you as a boss and the benefits offered. They’ll see how much your company is investing to make them happier and healthier in their daily lives, which will work to boost morale and job satisfaction.
Get creative and hold a benefits fair
Who said that benefit plans have to be dreadful and boring? You can easily spice up your communications about benefits by hosting a benefits fair. This can be something simple where you decorate a conference room with detailed information about each plan, where the employees can wander in at their leisure. Add some health-specific raffles, such as gift cards to a healthy restaurant or workout equipment, to make things a bit more fun. Doing something creative like this can go far in helping the benefits feel less daunting to new employees, as well!
In addition, you may be able to schedule all the carrier representatives on site to answer questions.
With these ideas in mind, your employees will become both knowledgeable and confident in your employee benefits packages. An open line of communication with your employees is always a great idea, so use these tips and tricks to get started.