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Employee Benefits

Ensuring Your Employee Benefits Communication Leads to Talent Retention and Workplace Satisfaction

Brooks Deibele
Brooks Deibele
Enterprise Sales Leader, Employee Benefits

A confluence of factors playing out throughout our economy, communities, workforce, and healthcare are creating challenges and difficult decisions for employers. This includes a tight labor market, which has many employers searching for opportunities to maintain or improve employee benefits to more effectively compete for talent and meet the needs of a more diverse, multi-generational workforce. But, as employee benefits costs tick up and align closer to the historically high inflationary rate, that is easier said than done.

There are also far too many inefficiencies, variations in outcomes and pricing, and suboptimal decision making when it comes to accessing healthcare and using benefits.

That’s where an effective communication strategy comes into play. Done right, your communication can not only impact the perception of employee benefits, but it can also improve plan performance, health outcomes, and productivity! Let me explain.

The Problem: Employee’s Understanding of Benefits

Whenever I speak to someone who is not in the business of employee benefits, I routinely find that their perception of their employee benefits program is influenced by two factors:

  1. What they pay per pay period for their benefits
  2. How much it costs them to use their benefits (co-pays, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, etc.)

And understandably so. The problem is that as part of this, there’s generally a very significant disconnect in understanding the total cost of benefits and the value of much of what is being offered.

Employee Satisfaction Correlates with Benefits Education

Employee satisfaction with their employee benefits program is significantly influenced by the effectiveness of an employer’s communication strategy.

Think about it this way. Businesses who sell goods to consumers use many different types of strategies to influence the perceived value of their physical products, doing things such as changing packaging, adjusting pricing, and altering how messaging is delivered and by whom. Although employee benefits are more abstract in nature, couldn’t employers use similar strategies and adjust them as needed to drive greater overall satisfaction and understanding of the employee benefits program?

If you’re still wondering if this is important, let’s take a look at an industry study done several years back. The study shows a direct correlation between employee benefits education and benefits/workplace satisfaction. In fact, the findings from the study show the effect that a good benefits education program has on workplace satisfaction:

  • 79 percent of workers who reviewed benefits in the past year and rated their education as excellent or very good also rated their employer as excellent or very good.
  • Only 30 percent of those who said the education they received was fair or poor rated their employer as excellent or very good.

Tailor Your Employee Benefits Communication Strategy Beyond Open Enrollment

Here’s the thing — there is no “one size fits all” strategy when it comes to developing an effective employee benefits communication strategy. That being said, tailoring a strategy to meet the unique needs of your organization, and revisiting the strategies you’ve previously deployed, will help in not only monitoring but also increasing the perceived value of your program.

One last thought I want to leave you with. Far too often, the vast majority of all communication efforts revolve around the open enrollment period, which can be overwhelming for your average employee. At Holmes Murphy, we can partner with you to incrementally improve your employee benefits communication strategies over time, regardless of where employees are starting from. This will help ensure your employee benefits are an essential part of your employee value proposition.

Our strategies include both traditional and non-traditional approaches, including text messaging capabilities, print and electronic benefits guides, newsletters and campaigns, in-person & virtual meetings, recorded messages, postcards, flyers, etc. If you think this would be of value, let’s talk! Remember, it doesn’t have to be during open enrollment!

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