How to Give Employees More Control Over Benefits
No matter how large or small your company may be, your employees are your biggest asset. That’s why one of the most important aspects of running your business is to keep them happy. One of the best ways to do so is to offer them high-quality benefits. Benefits refer to any compensation you provide your employees in addition to their salary. The type of benefits you provide will depend on the size of your company and your industry, but they may include:
- Health plans
- Pension plans
- Paid vacations
- Further education
- Gym membership
How to Help Employees be Informed About Benefits
Many employees are aware that they have benefit options, but they don’t know exactly what that means, which is why it is important to explain it to them in the following ways:
- Communicate often: You should make your employees aware of your benefits package during the interview, hiring and onboarding processes. You should also update them frequently after that so that they remain in touch with which benefits are available to them.
- Think like an employee: Put yourself in your workers’ shoes and imagine each step an employee has to take when he or she is enrolling in and using benefits. Do they have to go through multiple channels? Are you offering the same information year-round as you made available during new hire orientation?
- Educate your employees: You should always offer seminars to explain your benefits and the best ways to use them. Each seminar should go into detail about each of your benefits. If your benefits package is complex, then the seminar should take longer, or may be split into several parts. You must be sure to explain the information clearly.
- Use a variety of channels: Although employees want benefits, most of them don’t want to spend hours reading about them. Think of creative ways to keep your employees informed year-round. For example, you could pair emails with quizzes to catch your workers’ attention.
- Provide adequate clarification: When you are explaining your benefits, be sure to use language that your employees can understand. Although the information may seem obvious to you, it may not be the case for your employees, particularly if English is not their first language. In this case, you may want to consider offering printed material in different languages.
- Hand out literature: Make sure that all your information about benefits is available in writing. That way it is clear, and employees can take it home with them. Every employee should be given a copy of your company’s benefits handbook. This will help them find information as and when they need it.
- Use online sources: Make the most of your company’s intranet. You can easily use it to provide additional sources of information about each part of your benefits package. A good way to provide clear information is by using videos or other visual aids.
- Make it all relevant: Don’t provide employees with information they don’t need. This will just confuse the issue and make your workers feel overwhelmed. Keep all information relevant and issue it in a timely manner.
- Go over it again: It’s a good idea to revisit the benefits information from time to time. That way employees will stay up-to-date on what’s available to them.
- Encourage feedback: You can get employee feedback in numerous ways. For example, you could ask employees to post their thoughts on your company’s intranet, you could pass round an opinion survey, or you could encourage a discussion group.
- Provide help: Your employee benefits communication plan should include the offer of assistance. This will enable employees to take advantage of all the perks your company offers.
How to Give Employees More Control over Benefits
Another issue you need to consider is the fact that often, although employees receive benefits, they don’t feel they have full control over their plans. This is usually seen in how employees view their health insurance benefits. It may be the case that employees feel that their options for treatment are limited. It may also be the case that despite having a wide range of choices, employees may not feel that they know enough about their plan to make informed decisions.
Empowering your employees with more choices and control over their benefits will lead to increase employee satisfaction. It will also help you retain quality workers. There are a number of ways you can give your employees greater control over their benefits:
- Informed options: It’s crucial that your employees feel confident that they are making the best possible decision for themselves regarding benefit options. It’s down to you to help them become more informed about their choices. You can do so in several ways including:
- Providing easily accessible information
- Maintaining open communications
- Offering one-on-one advisory meetings
- Freedom to choose: While it’s important that employees have plenty of options, it’s equally important that they do not feel pressured into making certain choices. Working with an advisor can help employees choose benefit options, but the advice must be objective so that employees do not feel coerced into making a decision that might not be right for them in the long-term.
- A la carte benefits: There are many circumstances in which employers are paying for benefits that their employees do not use. This is why offering a la carte benefits helps employees and saves your company money. For example, you could offer your employees a set amount of money as part of their benefits package and allow them to choose how they wish to allocate the company’s contribution.
- Improved user experience: Enhancing the employee experience means meeting with them and making the benefits program as easy as possible for them to understand. Ensuring that users can fully engage with benefits program the company intranet or their smartphone or other devices creates a simpler, enhanced experience that drives utilization.
- Personal well-being benefits: Not all employee benefits are financial. It’s important to offer employees perks which benefit their physical and emotional well-being. Think beyond employee gym memberships. Why not offer stress management, particularly during the busiest seasons, or support with work-life balance when someone returns to work after maternity leave? These are all benefits options that your employees will appreciate.
Under a traditional benefits program, your employees may be getting options that they don’t want, instead of options that they need. Plans which offer a specific set of benefits to all employees often come at the expense of their health and happiness. Don’t make employees feel as though they have to settle for this approach to benefits.
Offering your employees flexible options gives them more control over how they use their benefits. It’s important for your employees to know that you genuinely care about their well-being and that you want them to use the benefits available to them. Set the tone by having your HR department send out a company-wide message stating your commitment to a flexible benefits program. Remind your employees of your company’s mission to provide a positive work experience and a benefits package which offers true and useable benefits.