Getting the Most Out of Your Benefit Communication Strategy
With health care costs continuing to escalate, a new era of increased employee responsibility has arrived. With this comes increased responsibility for the employer to deliver clear and consistent communications.
Employers spend millions of dollars annually on employee benefits:
- The employee benefits package is the most important recruitment and retention tool employers have
- Over 25 percent of total compensation is spent by the average employer on company-sponsored benefits
- An employers goal is to provide a competitive benefits package while controlling costs
- Most employees overlook or undervalue the company-sponsored benefits portion of their total compensation
An MBGH 2011 whitepaper, Employee Health Engagement: Identifying Triggers and Barriers to Engaging Employees in Their Health Benefits and Wellness Programs, offers key findings from 2010 employee focus groups regarding effective benefits communications:
- They fail to recognize their total compensation package is far more than they're taking home in pay
- They do not realize how much their employers pay to provide their benefits
- While employees prefer email communications, print communications are still important to them.
- 30% ofemployees rated their benefit communications as very effective
- 67% indicated moderate to marginal effectiveness
- Only 3% reported that benefit communications are effective
- Employees want more frequent communications and almost half say it is important to have at least one face-to-face meeting each year.
- Personalized information targeted to the individual’s health issues and challenges are preferred.
- Spouses and physicians, both strong influencers in changing behavior, are also interested in receiving information on employer health benefits and health improvement programs.
A recent study indicated employees who reported they had effective benefits communications were more likely to be loyal to their organization and more satisfied with their benefits and their jobs.
An article published in Employee Benefits News shared these helpful tips for employers to consider when developing a communications strategy:
Click here to view all of EBN's "Tips for Developing a Communications Strategy"
- Take a total compensation approach
- Communicate the business reasons behind changes, but don't stop there
- Do more targeted messaging
- Select tools with your audience in mind
- Use a variety of communications methods
- Focus on areas where communication can pay off
- Eliminate complexity
- Be persistent
- Plan for the long term
- Monitor results