You run a company with multiple departments and just under 100 employees. You and your executive management team have committed to offering employees the best possible benefits program that rewards them for their loyalty and retains them well into the future. Yet you have discovered a fundamental problem: your employees are not engaged enough to fully understand all those benefits. As such, the benefits are not really helping you reward and retain. What do you do?
A lack of employee engagement in the benefits arena is not at all unusual. In fact, Dallas-based BenefitMall says it is fairly common. Solving the problem boils down to two fundamental things: communication and access. If a company and its benefits administration partners can master communication and access, they will markedly increase employee engagement along with the loyalty and retention derived from it.
The average American business does not communicate with employees regarding their benefits packages except when absolutely necessary. In most cases that means annual notices of open enrollment for health insurance and retirement plans. That is not the kind of communication that’s going to foster employee engagement.
If employees only hear about benefits during open enrollment, they suffer from a significant disconnect. It is out of sight, out of mind. Furthermore, that disconnect creates a situation in which an employer can continue increasing available benefits without seeing any tangible results from doing so. Disconnected employees are not engaged employees who actually appreciate the benefits their employers offer.
The solution here should be obvious. Employees should receive regular updates about their benefits throughout the year. For example, monthly updates on the company 401(k) plan are a great motivator to invest. Reminders of how employees can use their healthcare benefits to get discounts on prescriptions and gym memberships encourage them to take advantage of both. The more a company can communicate, the more engagement will be fostered.
The other big complaint among disengaged employees is that they simply do not know the full extent of the benefits they are eligible for. They don’t know how their health insurance plans work, what benefits exist for things like child care and maternity/paternity leave, and so on. And even the little bit of knowledge they do have regarding basic benefits is all but rendered useless by confusion over how those benefits are applied.
Once again, the solution is easy. It is one of giving employees unfettered access to all the pertinent information they need. BenefitMall says the solution starts with open access to payroll information. In an online payroll environment, employees have access to their own accounts for keeping track of how much they are earning, what they are paying in taxes, and any amounts deducted for health insurance and other benefits.
Above and beyond payroll information is online access to benefits information. Access can include everything from detailed information about health insurance to regular updates on retirement plans. Access equals engagement.
One last thing to think about is engaging with employees via mobile technology. It’s a very good idea to increase benefits communications. It is a very good idea to give employees unfettered access to their information. But if you can do both using a mobile platform, your efforts will be even further enhanced. We live in a mobile world, so it’s best to engage with employees in that world.
If employee benefits are to be used to reward and retain employees, employers have to find a way to engage with their staff better. It starts with communication and unfettered access.
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