How to Communicate Your Company’s Benefits Policy and Improve Employee Experience

Here’s a checklist to ensure you’re promoting your perks in the best ways.

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We have tips on how to ensure your current and future employees understand your company’s perks

Your company’s benefits package might be a make or break consideration for potential hires looking to you for a job. In fact, a Glassdoor survey found that 57% of job seekers say that benefits are one of the top factors they scrutinize before accepting a job offer.

Because great benefits are so sought after, some of the largest companies in the United States seem to be competing for the biggest, most creative perks that employees can receive.

IKEA gives 4 months of paid parental leave to new parents — even if they work part-time. Facebook offers health coverage and free housing to their interns, some of whom pull in $7,000 per month. Starbucks will fully reimburse employees for their college tuition.

Undoubtedly, big businesses have put money and effort into beefing up their benefits packages to look more appealing to potential recruits. But don’t dismiss the importance of great benefits for other employers. Small- and medium-sized companies, as well as nonprofits, often offer great benefits that go far beyond health insurance.

Personally, I’ve worked for 2 nonprofits who each contributed more than 10% of my salary to a retirement savings plan, even though I contributed nothing myself.

Even with all of these great benefits on offer, some employers have a hard time communicating just how valuable they are to employees. Are you getting the most out of your benefits program? Do your employees know what benefits are available to them? Do potential hires?

Use this checklist to ensure you’re promoting your perks in the best ways.

Step 1: Do your employees understand and use their benefits?

If your company offers a long list of attractive perks, that’s fantastic. Just be sure that your employees know about all of the benefits that are available to them, and understand how to use them.

Unfortunately, many employees are confused about their employer-provided benefits. And far too many are unwilling to ask questions to help them better understand. That’s why it’s crucial for employers to educate their staff on these valuable benefits.

According to a recent MetLife survey, one-third of U.S. workers say they would rather talk about their weight than their employee benefits (and you know how much people hate talking about their weight). In fact, almost half of those surveyed say that open enrollment is just as intimidating as asking for a raise.

Why all the anxiety? Benefits are confusing! Especially health insurance. How many of us have had a surprising medical bill because we didn’t realize we had a deductible? Or had to delay a procedure because we found out we needed to pre-notify?

Health insurance and other benefits are dense, dry, and difficult to understand. That might be why 1 in 5 workers who responded to MetLife’s survey said they only spend a few minutes reading over their options before making a decision on benefits.

Your first task on this checklist is to ask your employees if they understand their benefits. Get specific:

  • Do you understand all of the differences between these health insurance options?
  • Were you aware that we have a dependent care flexible spending account?
  • Do you know how much tuition reimbursement is available to you?

If it seems like many of them don’t understand your benefits, you need to do a better job educating them. How you choose to do this might vary based on your company culture. You might want to try having an in-person educational session during open enrollment, as well as regular short presentations at staff meetings.

Step 2: Send internal communication featuring your benefits

Does your benefits strategy include frequent communication? It should. Remember, many employees are confused about their benefits. They might not even be aware of all of the great perks they have available to them. Written communication about the benefits you offer is vital to employees’ understanding of their value.

Here are a few ideas for regular written benefits communication:

  • If you have a company newsletter, create a section called “Spotlight on Benefits.” Each month, you can write a brief blurb that explains 1 aspect of your benefits package
  • No newsletter? Send monthly all-staff emails to highlight 1 of your benefits
  • If you have an intranet or secure online benefits portal, set reminders to “ping” employees periodically with a brief fact or 2 about their benefits package
  • Create a health challenge, such as a competition to log the most steps, or an incentive to get a flu shot. Along the way, remind employees of the ways in which their health benefits interact with healthy behavior
  • Post signage to remind employees of safety protocols and their connections to your worker’s compensation insurance

Step 3: Publish your complete benefits perks online

Hopefully, your recruitment strategy already includes a discussion of the benefits you offer. But remember, your website will probably be a potential hire’s first impression of your company. Anyone who applies for a job with your company will probably read your website first.

In fact, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2019 employee benefits survey, most job seekers do extensive research on a company before sending in their resume. One of their top concerns during this research period is the benefits package you offer. If your benefits are not listed online, they won’t be able to find them — and they may not even apply.

At a minimum, you need to list a general overview of your perks in every job announcement. There is value in simply listing them on your website as well. Create a page that’s all about the reasons your company is a great place to work, and list your benefits there. Lots of job seekers will research great employers in their industry before they even look at job announcements. You want them to find you in their search.

Step 4: Ensure Glassdoor accurately lists your benefits

Glassdoor serves a lot of job seekers. According to their 2017 report, the website receives 57 million unique visitors each month. Workers who are out looking for new jobs often rely on Glassdoor for inside information about a potential employer.

Current and former employees can provide ratings and feedback on your organization on Glassdoor. Among other things, a potential recruit searching your company on Glassdoor will see information about the compensation and benefits you offer.

You should regularly check your company’s listing on Glassdoor and be sure its benefits information is accurate. If it’s not, contact them and ask them to update it.

Step 5: Send out an employee survey about perks

There’s a reason human resources are sometimes nicknamed “people operations.” We’re all about people. You offer all of these perks and benefits because you hope your people will appreciate and enjoy them.

However, sometimes a perk you thought would be well-loved ends up bombing at the (box) office. How can you know if your employees love their benefits or hate them? Just ask.

We recommend an annual employee survey sometime in the summer — before you make your decisions about what to offer for open enrollment. List all of your current benefits, plus any you are thinking of changing or adding.

Ask employees to rate them on a Likert scale:

  • 1=Strongly dislike
  • 2=Somewhat dislike
  • 3=Don’t really care
  • 4=Somewhat like
  • 5=Strongly like

Be sure to ask open-ended questions too, such as “What benefits do we not currently offer that you would like to have?”

This will help you hone and prune your benefits package. Stop paying for benefits that nobody wants, and add in others that people would find useful.

Step 6: Promote your perks

Employers of all sizes in every industry are beginning to offer great benefits that go far beyond health insurance. From paid parental leave to onsite childcare, tuition reimbursement to retirement savings, today’s employees enjoy a wide variety of perks.

Even still, some employers have a hard time communicating just how valuable their benefits are. How is your organization doing on this front? Do your employees know what benefits are available to them? Do potential hires? We hope this checklist will help you ensure that you’re promoting your perks in the best possible ways.

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