A common concern that comes up in open enrollment discussions has to do with employees utilizing their benefits. Benefits have become even MORE important to employees, and they are subsequently spending more time reviewing them, and what are they finding? Lackluster offerings or, worse yet, benefits that are difficult to use. And it’s hurtful for both employers and employees. What’s going on?
Primarily it’s that employers aren’t taking notice of what employees want for benefits, and also that employees don’t understand how to utilize their benefits. This is due to the open enrollment process being sloppy, necessary materials difficult to find or understand, and company cultures that do not celebrate a work-life balance for employees, even if they offer the benefits to make that happen. And the result is employee dissatisfaction with the company’s benefit program.
Making sure benefits get used
There are several ways employers can ensure employees understand and use their benefits, and by doing so they increase productivity, retention, and overall employee satisfaction. Let’s discuss.
- Understand what employees want. Step one in creating a successful benefit program is making sure the offerings are actually relevant to employees. Take it to the source and ask employees what they need.
- Educate during and after open enrollment. Continue to educate, and encourage, employees on their benefits and how to use them after the enrollment period has ended. Make it a part of the company culture to take the time to care for mental and physical health and to take time off work.
- Check-in regularly and encourage questions. Consider hosting ‘wellness retreats,’ a benefits-focused team event/meeting that can serve as a reminder of offerings and afford employees the opportunity to ask questions.
- Make materials easy to access year-round. It’s typical to hand employees folders full of pamphlets and leave it at that, but they’re going to need to be able to review this information easily throughout the year and the best way is to have a one-spot shop where all this stuff is stored. Host them on the company website or an employee-only portal.
- Diversity is key. And offering a variety of benefits, and a variety of support for corresponding materials, will go a long way in employees understanding and using their benefits.
If you’re not feeling confident about your company’s open enrollment process, remember that Eos HR can answer any questions you may have. We even offer a plan that grants employers an allotted amount of time per month to address their concerns! We’re always available to offer small businesses an HR team that will help them navigate the intricacies of the modern workforce. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.
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