Strengthen Employee Satisfaction and Retention Through Benefits Communication

by | Jul 7, 2022 | Benefits

Understaffed human resource departments are tasked with sending benefits communications and serve as the point of contact for insurance questions and coverage issues – in addition to the many other hats they wear.  Since HR departments are spread thin, many condense communications to employees only during open enrollment times and neglect benefit communications throughout the year- missing out on valuable touchpoints to increase employee satisfaction and engagement which can have a greater impact on retention than most companies realize.

If you have employees complaining about benefits change or maybe a specific benefit that is underutilized by your employees; increased communication could be the answer. You could leverage this communication to showcase your robust offerings and to remind employees of benefits they may be underutilizing. 

Employee benefits play a pivotal role in the financial security of employed Americans, providing valuable health and income-related protections.

Findings from LIMRA’s 2022 BEAT (Benefits and Employee Attitude Tracker) study reveal that frequent and ongoing benefit communications produces a considerable return on investment in terms of improved employee satisfaction and retention. This is particularly important as employers are faced with the Great Resignation and are trying to remain competitive to recruit top talent.

It may be time to rethink your benefits communication plan.  Here are a few tips to make it easier on your HR team:

According to the “State of Workplace Communications” survey from IDG, three-quarters of employees surveyed said that “communications about benefits, compensation and other HR-related matters” were not engaging or easy-to-understand.

Use Multiple Channels of Communication

Employee benefits packages are not a one-size-fits-all. It’s only reasonable that not every employee will use the same benefits in each package. What we want to avoid is lack of communication being the reason any one particular benefit is underutilized. Most companies give employees a basic rundown of benefit offering during onboarding/orientation.

Strenghten Employee Satisfaction and Retention Through Benefits Communication

One way to communicate benefits throughout the year is a monthly or quarterly newsletter via email. Human resources and marketing make a great team when it comes to disseminating benefits information through emails/eblasts. Once you have an email newsletter of sorts- follow-up reminders can be key. Schedule a quarterly email reminding them of their available benefits and encouraging employees to use them. Perhaps something in their lives has changed in the last three months, and a benefit they didn’t need before would now be a good fit. These emails can be basic form letter emails crafted and reused throughout the year.

If you are using Microsoft Teams or Slack, creating a channel for relaying company benefits information can be an easy way for an employee to go back and retrieve information. Employees can also use this platform to share success stories and cost savings which encourages/reminds other employees to use their benefits.

Basic tip: Benefits communications should come through multiple channels throughout the year- not just at annual enrollment time.

Communication Should Be Pertinent, Timely and Easy to Understand

Effectively reaching employees includes promoting your benefits in a way that catches their attention. When sending email blasts or newsletters, make sure subject line is easily searchable and the contents of the message offer a strong call to action. Maybe in October send a reminder to use their vision benefit before the new benefit year begins in January. Have a flex spend account – send that early November reminder for employees to submit their qualifying purchases.

Keeping email language simple is the best way for employees to understand and remember their benefits.  If you use acronyms be sure to spell them out and maybe provide helpful links in your communications so employees can read more on each benefit.

Use Feedback & Data to Better Future Benefits

Monitoring engagement on your benefits plans and understanding benefits utilization are the most important determining factors of the program’s success.  Are your employees using all your offerings? Why or why not? Consider an anonymous portal for employees to give feedback on current benefits or a create an anonymous survey.  If a particular benefit seems to not be used as widely, inquire as to why- is it complicated? Do employees know it’s available? Is it just not a good fit? Companies can use employee feedback and data on benefits utilization to inform future decisions and ensure the benefits program aligns to their needs. 

Employee Satisfaction and Recruitment are Two of the Main ROIs of Your Total Benefits Package

If it’s been a while since your team has had time to review your overall offerings it may be worthwhile to consider hiring a consultant.  If you have open positions that are taking a long time to fill – this is another sign that you may need a temporary outside consultant to come in and do a benefits analysis.  The consultant can take a 360 degree look at your organization, identify gaps and suggest solutions that will keep your organization competitive in this employee-driven market.  Consultants can also help you roll out an implementation plan to strengthen your benefits communication strategy.