Grant Ameel | COBRA & FMLA Expert
Evaluation and Communication
One of the biggest benefits challenges employers face isn’t necessarily choosing their benefit help solutions package, but communicating those benefits to their employees. Even to those who work in the benefits industry, knowing the plan details can be perplexing, and for most employees a plan summary can appear to be written in a completely different language. A lot of companies might only have one medical plan, so it might not seem like much of a choice, but nevertheless, employees should have a good grasp of what their benefits entail. To that end, many employers have been looking for new and progressive ways to communicate their benefit packages to their employees, including the use of benefits administration software – because let’s be honest, when it comes to employer benefits, most employees only know how much is coming out of their paycheck and what their doctor visit and prescription co-pays are.
Know Your Employees To Create a Campaign That Works
So what can an employer do to break through the treacherous benefits barrier that has become commonplace? For starters, it’s important that a comprehensive employee education and communication campaign is put into place. Employers need to devise a way to communicate benefit help solutions that go beyond just handing out plan summary packets during open enrollment and hoping their employees A.) read them and B.) understand what they are reading. A good tactic is to utilize real life, relatable scenarios to paint a description of how their benefits plan would be applied in a similar situation. As with most consumers, employees need to be able to quantify the true cost and value of their benefits, and using real life situations to help explain things such as deductibles, co-pays, and flex spending accounts can go a long way in helping employees truly understand how their plans work in a relatable sense.
Develop a Great Communication Strategy.
Of course, having said that, it’s important to remember that a strong comprehensive engagement strategy must account for the multiple generations, cultures, and socio-economical differences within the company’s workforce as well. While electronic modes can be a highly effective source and are the assured way of the future, they shouldn’t be the sole vessel for communicating benefits. Personal interaction, discussion, and an open dialog where feedback and questions are encouraged is still an essential component to any successful campaign. Even postcards and wallet sized benefit “Cheat Sheets” can be an effective tool to reach audiences that are less averse to electronic methods and benefit administration software, yet still provide benefit help solutions to those who need them.
The bottom line is that when it comes to benefits communication, targeting your audience is key. What companies need to be weary of is trying to communicate the “white noise” of their benefits package. For example, placing an emphasis on how a plan will cover a colonoscopy or a mammogram might be important to a small section of your workforce, but it’s not all encompassing, and with something so specific, those who want to know that info will usually make the effort to obtain it. That’s why a great benefits campaign is a customized benefits campaign.
"Companies differ in size, culture, diversity and pay grade. Targeting your audience is key when it comes to educating your staff about their benefits, resulting in better engagement."