In today’s competitive landscape, a generous benefits package has become a major factor in attracting and retaining talent. With the shift towards a more specialized and educated workforce, employees today see work as a core part of their lives. This shift in attitude includes seeking more support from employers to help them succeed and protect their financial interests.
At the core level, employee benefits protect employee’s financial interest both as a means of investing in retirement and shielding them from the financial risks related to accidents or sickness. Beyond this, benefits today are becoming more inclusive of mental and physical wellness initiatives designed to educate and support employees and their families.
If your employees are struggling to see the values of your benefits package, let’s look at how to take action.
Develop a new communication strategy
If there’s a lack of understanding, there will be a lack of appreciation. Develop a communication strategy to outline the values of the organization’s benefits philosophy. Benefits programs are designed to protect employees and their families.
Sharing benefits information in simple and digestible terms may help. Find new ways to reach employees via topic specific newsletters and emails. Breaking down a benefits package into small chunks helps employees slowly come to understand the different components of the offering.
Benefits programs at the core may include retirement contributions, life insurance, accident, sickness, health, and dental benefits. Beyond this, wellness benefits are becoming more relevant and Canadian insurance carriers are offering various resources to meet these new values. Compared to health and dental, wellness initiatives are often underutilized and unappreciated. If someone has back pain, they go see a health practitioner; however, if they’re dealing with stress and anxiety, these conditions may be left unattended. By promoting wellness resources, employees will be more likely to utilize and appreciate their value. Here are some ways you can communicate your benefits coverage:
Wellness program initiatives
- Set physical or nutritional challenges in your digital wellness program and reward team members for participation. This will promote employees to register with the program and is a great opportunity to showcase its value.
Mental health resources and support
- Educate employees with benefits related emails or articles detailing resources available, such as an Employee Assistance Program and Virtual Healthcare. Be sure to specify that these programs are available to dependents, children and spouses.
Lunch and Learns
- Ask your advisor to organize annual benefit seminars as a refresher for current employees and an introduction for new hires. A lunch and learn will detail the resources and expenses that can be claimed under employer sponsored benefits. Driving engagement, utilization and most important, appreciation!
Communicate the compensation value of the benefits program
Because benefits are designed to protect your employees, make sure they're well versed in the depth of your investment. Many may be surprised to find out how much their employer pays for their benefits annually in addition to their basic earnings. Creating a chart or infographic can help visualize the value of the compensation. It is pivotal to piggy-back the dollar value of their benefits with a communication strategy of the qualitative value of the benefits in terms of risk avoidance and the financial protection they provide employees and their families.
- At the time of hire and year-end review, make it a habit to discuss the benefits package and the annual investment of employer paid premiums.
- Be sure to detail that employer contributions towards health, dental and retirement savings plan contributions are a non-taxable perk for employees!
- Provide a benefits summary of services, supplies, and resources that are eligible for employees to expense under the benefits program.
Evolve your benefits program to meet your employees needs
Continue to review the value of your benefits package to ensure it is consistent with the values of your workforce. A dedicated team of advisors can assist with reviewing your company's claims annually to see if there can be changes made to better fit the demographics of your employees. Insurance carriers in Canada today are offering more flexibility to coverage and support initiatives that promote physical and mental wellness. In most cases, offering employees greater choice, flexibility, and control over their benefits better meets the needs of diverse workforces.
- Consider adding a Health Spending Account to provide employees a more personalized experience.
- Consider moving to a Flex Account, where employees can choose to contribute to greater or lesser levels of coverage.
- Ask your employees for feedback on any potential shortages or downfalls of the current benefits package.
Developing an open channel of communication can help strengthen employer relations while relaying the importance of employee benefits. Utilize the communication channel as an opportunity to remind your employees of your benefits philosophy. At the forefront, benefits are in place to protect employee financial interest both as a means of investing in retirement and shielding them from the financial risks related to accidents or sickness. Beyond this, as an employer you are also investing in mental and physical wellness support for employees and their families.