Choosing a benefits plan for your employees is only half the battle. The other half is communicating the benefits plan to your employees.
While there are laws that cover exactly when and how long an employer has to communicate any new plans or amendments to employees, communicating this information only once is not enough. In fact, according to a 2015 survey conducted by Aflac, only 13% of employers feel that they are communicating their benefits effectively. On the flip side, nearly half of the employees who were surveyed in the same study reported that they do not adequately manage their health insurance. Forty-six percent said that they don’t have the time or knowledge to manage their healthcare.
Since benefits are so integral to an employee’s compensation package, as well as their health insurance, these numbers are shocking. So what can you do, as an employer, when handing out information packets and sending emails is not sufficient to keep your employees informed and up-to-date about their benefits?
#1: Take initiative.
Don’t wait for employees to approach you with questions. The Aflac report also showed that despite employees wanting to be more informed, over half spend only 30 minutes or less when it comes to choosing their health plans. So while HR certainly can’t make anyone understand, they can try their best to help. This means taking the initiative when it comes to communicating about employee benefits. When HR takes initiative, employees benefit by gaining a broader and more in-depth understanding, and the company benefits by having more satisfied employees.
#2: Schedule quarterly meetings.
Instead of communicating only when you have to (whether it is via email, handouts or mail, which is still used for employee benefits info), schedule at least four meetings a year so that you can review your current plan or communicate changes. If your company is very large, one-on-one meetings may be impractical, so a full-staff meeting is fine, with the option for employees to schedule personal meetings with HR should they wish. If your company is small, one-on-one meetings can suffice as an effective way to communicate information and build rapport.
#3: Keep your door open.
While we encourage employers to take initiative in keeping their employees informed, it shouldn’t be a one-way street. Employees should know that they can approach HR with any questions they have. This goes a long way toward helping them understand their benefits and creating a company culture of transparency.
If you would like guidance about how to keep the lines of communication open in your company, contact Corporate Financial today.