Nov 09, 2015

5 Tips on Educating Your Employees About Their Benefits

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The current employee benefits landscape is a challenging one for employers. In fact, it is becoming an administrative nightmare with all the new regulations, taxes, penalties, and countless hours of paperwork. Employers are looking to benefits as a new way to attract and retain great employees, and how best to communicate the benefit offerings so employees are educated when making critical decisions.

Here are 5 tips on educating your employees about their benefits to encourage benefits participation:

1. Communicate with Employees to Help Them Understand Benefit Offerings

To take advantage of benefits, employees need to understand what options are available, what’s covered and what steps they need to take.

It seems the main barrier here is lack of awareness and education. Yet, with the right communication, employees will be more inclined to participate in a benefits program. Using multiple means of direct communication increases employee engagement and knowledge that will be retained about their benefits. Whether its workshops, enrollment meetings, or a forum giving them a chance to ask questions; direct engagement is very successful. employers should avoid using a one-size-fits-all method, because it is likely to disengage a sizeable chunk of their workforce.

For example, 48% of young and single employees prefer face-to-face communication, 45% with a young family prefer digital, and 44% with a mature family are happy with either of the two methods. Taking into account the demographics of a population can be the difference of whether or not an employer reaches their employees. Here at AWANE, our administrative team stays on top of regular, customized communication to our members to try and educate our members.

Educate employees about the different plans available to them. Communicate the role benefits play in overall well-being and help employee understand the specific protections each benefits plan offers. Above all, avoid overcomplicated language, as it will immediately disengage an employee.

54% of employees claim they need more help understanding how their benefits work, and how those benefits can help meet their needs

2. Make plans customizable to meet individual needs.

40% of employees say having a wide selection of benefits would make them feel more loyal to their employer, according to MetLife.

Provide plenty of benefits options including medical, dental, and vision from leading carriers. Allow employees to customize plans with affordable options to meet their individual needs.

Today, many employers are looking for ways to continue to offer great benefit plans that retain their talent and help them to recruit new and top-level talent. However, the current landscape dictates higher rate increases changed contribution regulations, and countless pages of legislative red tape with large penalties looming should an employer not be fully compliant.

Some of the ways AWANE has managed trend so favorably for our members is our purchasing cooperative and private health insurance exchange. Our plans are customized specifically for businesses in the automotive, roads, fuel, and related industries by industry experts and advocates. As we always say, one size does NOT fit all when it comes to employee benefits and we believe that good health is good business.

Read more: What makes private health insurance exchanges successful?

3. Explore options to offer more voluntary benefits for financial security

About half of employees experiencing financial stress are looking to their employers for help in achieving financial security through benefits.

Offer life or disability insurance to help employees and their families feel secure. Care for employees’ financial future by supporting a 401(k) plan or FSA. Additionally, consider offering other wellness perks like commuter benefits or health club memberships to mitigate day-to-day financial burdens and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

AWANE has a comprehensive rewards program updated yearly to allow employees the opportunity to earn money back for healthy actions such as regular checkups, diagnostic tests, pregnancy, and much more. Our voluntary benefits program is giving employers more options than ever to help contain costs.

4. Talk about benefits outside of open enrollment

It’s only becoming more essential that employees understand benefits as decisions are shifting from being primarily in the hands of the employer to the employee.

Talking about benefits only during open enrollment is not enough. Communicate to employees about benefits in a way that reflects seasons and life events throughout the year. For example, for those employees planning to start a family, have information already prepared regarding doctor visits and childcare.

Offer educational tools and channels preferred by employees so they can stay informed year-round to make better purchasing decisions. The AWANE website and Members only section offers comprehensive information about plan designs, association benefits and programs, and much more. We believe in engaging our members consistently throughout the year so there is strong utilization of our great programs. We work hard to build them so people can use them!

5. Make it easy to sign up

Open enrollment can be a overwhelming time for both HR and employees. If employees have to wait too long, don’t receive the information they need, or feel the sign-up process is too complicated, they may obtain benefits elsewhere — either as a dependant or by taking out their own personal plan.

AWANE offers full administrative support to enroll employees, furnish relevant notices, and take extra paperwork off HR’s desk. The AWANE Private Health Insurance Exchange offers plans designed specifically for members, taking out the difficulty and confusing nature of shopping for health insurance. Our great buying power combined with fully compliant plans is a no-brainer for any employer looking for strategic firepower when choosing an organization to join.