Regular, effective benefits communication is essential for companies to successfully recruit, engage, and retain their employees. From financial planning assistance to wellness perks, organizations need to do a better job of communicating the value and availability of such benefits to current and prospective employees. Last month, Bank of America Merrill Lynch announced the findings from its 2012 Workplace Benefits Report, an annual study of the role financial benefit plans play in employers’ talent management strategies and in the overall financial wellness of their employees. The following are some of the key findings:
- Thirty-five percent of employees indicated they did not know how to optimize their benefits while 10 percent of employees said they did not even know what benefits their company offers.
- Sixty-six percent of employers think they should increase the frequency of communications [about benefits].
- Sixty-three percent of employers believe they should target communications [about benefits] to specific employees.
- Sixty-nine percent of employers feel they should increase the number of communication methods [about benefits].
Given these findings, below are some tips organizations can use to ensure their benefits communication increases employee engagement and boosts retention.
Clear, Open Communication
Organizations should clearly communicate the benefits available to employees, the advantages of each benefit, and how employees can use them effectively. Openly communicating such information will engage employees, helping them take ownership of their well-being and financial future.
According to the study, 55 percent of employers only communicate with employees about their financial benefit plans once a year, or less. From 401(k) plans and health savings accounts (HSA) to tuition reimbursement and summer Fridays, employees are interested in receiving regular communications about the many benefits available to them. Without such information, employees are unable to make sound decisions about their health and financial planning.
Organizations should tailor how they communicate their benefits to different generations in the workforce. For example, younger generations would benefit from receiving information about the advantages of 401(k) plans while older workers might be interested in learning about their employer’s phased retirement options. Advice that is tailored to groups in different life stages will help employees successfully prepare for their future.
When communicating benefits to employees, organizations should provide information across a variety of platforms. From the company website and intranet to e-mails and direct mail, organizations would do well to get in front of employees in a variety of ways. As a result, organizations will continue to drive home the importance of employees being aware of and knowledgeable about the benefits available to them.
By establishing a well-rounded benefits communication plan, organizations will succeed in helping workers fully understand the many benefits they can take advantage of in the workplace. In doing so, employees will feel engaged and empowered about their future.