Why promoting employee benefits is important

Beneva provides HR leaders with tools and guidance to promote competitive plans for improved engagement and retention

Why promoting employee benefits is important

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Less than 20 per cent of today’s employees say they understand their company’s benefits plan. Why? Idle employee engagement combined with ineffective communications.

Eighty per cent of company leaders say their employees either don’t open or don’t read all the materials sent to them. Close to 50 per cent of employees say they don’t understand their benefits materials while only 30 per cent fully understand their value, according to a report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans.

Considering the key role employee benefits play in strengthening company morale, improving recruitment and retention strategies, and optimizing workforce performances, a high value and well-understood model is crucial.

Meet the needs of the workforce

Some companies mistakenly believe they need new and innovative solutions to achieve an effective and competitive benefits package but before reacting too quickly, it’s best to take stock. Assessing current plans to see just how well they’re understood and how often employees are engaging with them can reveal important insights and uncover hidden opportunities.

The mark of a successful benefits plan is one that has proven to meet the needs of the workplace. Conclusive evidence must demonstrate that employees know where and how to access what’s available to them, and that they understand why their benefits do, in fact, benefit them.

Inert benefits plans that are assumed to be performing well, and those built to react to employee illness rather than facilitating employee wellness, can impose unnecessary risks and costs upon organizations.

Employees in need of medical attention or mental health supports, for example, who don’t realize help is available through their employer, or don’t feel comfortable asking, can reach a point where extended time off due to illness, stress, or burnout is unavoidable. This often leads to a reduction in company team spirit, increased strain on productivity, and lengthy return to work (RTW) schedules.

Protective physical and mental health action plans that identify, address, and resolve these types of risk factors can result in naturally enhanced and sustained employee wellness. By promoting awareness of assistance programs (EAPs) and encouraging employees to take advantage of the medical services and psychological resources available to them, employers can turn the tide on reactionary resolutions to create a proactive culture of care, balance, and wellbeing.

It starts at the top

An effective employee benefits package that prioritizes workplace health and wellness begins with an assessment of company operations. Systemic issues that can include lukewarm senior management buy-in and silo-like thinking among departments can erode messaging and undermine initiatives. 

HR and company leaders should shift away from reactive approaches to physical and mental health services in favour of a preventive approach designed to enhance and sustain wellness. The result is a shared feeling among employees that they are valued and appreciated, and a robust and engaged company culture rooted in employee-centric supports.

Organizational plans only succeed when every company sector with a role to play in employee health and wellness has a common objective and can work together to foster a seamless benefits experience.

Effective communication strategies

High benefits satisfaction is commensurate with high job satisfaction. A well structured employee benefits plan that is easy for employees to access can become the cornerstone of a happy, healthy workforce.

And while communicating these benefits can be a challenge, by adopting an omnichannel approach that can include email, the company intranet, notifications from managers, posters, video clips, periodic meetings, and more, HR leaders can ensure employees are adequately informed. Every point of contact with employees is an opportunity to remind them of the support provided by the organization.

Promoting an organization’s internal resources and programs by linking information to annual, company sponsored public awareness events and campaigns is an approach many of today’s companies have implemented, and from which they’ve achieved a high degree of success. Others have adopted a virtual health platform that allows employees to access the services they need at anytime, day or night.

By limiting barriers and simplifying access to all the supports provided through the company’s benefits plans, employers can help employees manage their own care, and tailor preventive measures to suit their individual needs.

Going forward

At a time when unemployment still hovers at an all-time low, a competitive, recognized employee value proposition that goes beyond salary to include physical and mental health supports, services, and options can mean the difference between solid recruitment and retention, and employee dissatisfaction that can negatively impact the company’s reputation.

Workplace experts Beneva helps put employers and employees on the same page. They focus on values-based assessments, evidence-based solutions, and preventive health and wellness approaches that help HR leaders create employee-centric plans that deliver on their promise.

Beneva helps HR and company leaders create a robust and rewarding culture employees are proud to be a part of.

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