In today’s economy, a strong bottom line is more important than ever for your business. But many employers overlook an untapped resource that can drive results — benefits communication.
Why is benefits communication and education so important for your company and your employees? Employees consistently rate benefits as one of the key factors influencing their job satisfaction. To drive the bottom line, your business needs satisfied, productive employees. When you can improve the benefits communication process and its results, you stand to gain a competitive edge in retaining and recruiting quality employees.
Research indicates employers tend to not place high importance on benefits education —and aren’t showing signs of changing their mindsets anytime soon:
- Most employers don’t see benefits education as a critical issue and are unlikely to take the initiative to improve their communication efforts.*
- With so many other pressing concerns, most employers won’t make it high-priority to improve benefits communication and education for employees in the near future.*
Here’s a big opportunity to improve this communications gap. Find a good voluntary benefits partner who can deliver benefits communication and education to your employees. This way, you can hand over the communication responsibility and provide effective benefits communication at little to no direct cost to you. Here are some of the best practices in benefits communication:
- Interactivity. Today’s benefits communication and education involves more than just developing a message and delivering it. It’s about creating employee participation. Using tools such as workbooks and interactive needs analysis helps create true engagement and participation.
- One-to-one support. A one-size-fits-all approach to benefits communication no longer works. Insurance is complex, and relying on self-education or technology alone isn’t realistic. Having access to a trained benefits specialist who personalizes the decision-making experience for employees can create real satisfaction. Employees appreciate having someone help them understand all the terminology and choices, as well as give them the confidence they need to make good decisions for their families.
- Convenience. Providing tools to give access to employees throughout the year, not just at annual enrollment, is important. The use of corporate portals, for example, has become increasingly popular, giving workers easy, 24/7 access to a wide range of web-based benefits information they can use year-round at their convenience.
- Multiple employee touch points. Give employees multiple options to enhance benefits communication. Some basic methods you should offer include one-to-one meetings, group meetings and Internet or self-enroll methods. Other ideas to supplement these methods are: online resources, printed benefits booklets, printed enrollment guides and interactive multimedia tools.
- Year-round communication. No one’s life is static, and benefits communication shouldn’t be either. Think about your new employees and employees who experience life changes throughout the year, such as marriage, retirement or the birth of a child. You need a way to keep up the communications efforts year-round.
With the right voluntary benefits partner and enrollment strategy, you can implement a strong benefits communication and education program that will help you realize competitive advantages.
* LIMRA No Small Matter, 2013
About the author
Matt Hickman is a Broker Development Partner and Benefits Advisor for The Meehan Agency.
The Meehan Agency is a market leader in providing benefits communication and enrollment solutions for group health brokers and their clients. The agency’s employee benefits services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support thousands of businesses and organizations, representing tens of thousands of America’s workers and their families.
For more information contact The Meehan Agency at +1.866.ENROLL.0, visit themeehanagency.com or connect with the agency at www.facebook.com/makebenefitscount/ or www.linkedin.com/company/make-benefits-count/.