We all know that employee benefits packages help business owners to recruit the best workers, while also contributing to worker satisfaction and retention. But there is a big difference between offering valuable benefits, and employee usage and appreciation of them. If your workers aren’t well versed in the options available to them, and aren’t selecting the benefit options that are best suited for their situations, then they aren’t reaping the full value of those benefits… And neither are you.
That’s why communication between HR departments and employees can be so critical. In order to help your employees understand their group benefits and select the best options for their situations, take the following steps.
Provide expertise. Does your HR department or provider give employees access to the information they need, in order to make informed decisions? Are they accessible by phone, email, or appointment? Are written materials, pamphlets, etc clear, and do they accurately give necessary information on benefits without added clutter?
Help employees ask the right questions. Sometimes employees are so unfamiliar with their own benefits, that they don’t even know which questions to ask! Then they make benefit selections based on what appears the easiest, or they simply continue with last year’s choices. Encourage them to ask the right questions, such as:
- Are my favorite doctors and facilities in-network?
- Has the benefit plan administrator, or insurance carrier, changed?
- Are alternative medical practitioners covered?
- Has prescription drug coverage changed?
- Are there any new benefit options that weren’t available last year?
- Are there any voluntary benefits I should know about?
- Do we have a wellness program or incentives?
- How can I learn more about my benefit options?
Streamline the enrollment process. If you haven’t already, elect an online benefits software program that employees can access at their leisure. This will allow them full access to benefits information, and make the enrollment period more convenient for everyone.
Continue to reach out to employees throughout the year. The conversation regarding benefits should be an ongoing one, throughout the year. Regularly issue reminders about topics such as:
- Using flex spending account funds before the year ends
- Formulary changes (for prescription drug changes) and the opportunity to save money by using generic drugs
- Information on voluntary benefits programs, like wellness programs and additional insurance options
- Updates on retirement savings options, such as updates on employer matching funds, all required notices, the summary annual report, or information on taking advantage of income tax benefits
These ideas should get you started, but give us a call for more information on communicating employee benefits. We can help you ensure that your employees (and you) reap the maximum amount of satisfaction from your group benefits package.