HR professionals in any organization are usually well versed with the benefits packages of employees at different levels. They understand the healthcare plans, pension packages, as well as how to answer questions about non-mandatory benefit packages. The level of understanding drops drastically for anyone who is not part of the HR department.
The gap in understanding the benefits package ushers in two very real problems. Underappreciation of the benefits package and the company’s employee welfare programs and a lack of employee feedback about benefits. The lack of feedback prevents organizations from rooting out benefits that are not working. Poor understanding of the benefits package lowers employee satisfaction level and in turn, negatively impacts retention figures.
The gap in communication is often so wide that employees often end up spending their salaries on benefits they can already get for free.
For instance, many employees choose to get a supplementary healthcare plan because they think it’s too complicated to access the ones provided by their companies. Some even suffer from the idea that healthcare plans terminate after the loss of employment. Employees have no idea that they can keep the coverages and benefits of their corporate health insurance by continuing to pay the premiums themselves. Similarly, employees pay for health checkups when they are often included in their corporate health insurance plans.
The reason for the lack of understanding of benefits packages is often the nature of the educational materials themselves. Employees are often mailed the details of their benefits packages. The text-heavy communication is often written in a way that most employees do not understand the value or how to access them.
Why Companies Need to Invest in Educating Employee About Their Benefits
Most companies educate employees about employee benefits during the induction process. However, during the enrollment phrase employees need to retain a lot of information and without proper refresher courses, they simply forget the details of their benefits packages. This is why a reputed firm insists on hiring an employee-benefit advisor to run year-long educational programs, which includes everything from email communications and webinars to interactive educational courses to keep their employees aware. The following are 5 reasons why robust employee benefits educational programs are essential for any business with a considerable workforce.
Employee Appreciation: A lot of times employees don’t understand whether a particular benefit is paid by the company or if they are paying the cost from their salaries. By educating them about employer contribution and the true value of the benefits they can learn to appreciate their jobs.
Reduction in Employee Poaching: Losing key talent can be devastating for any organization. It’s a double whammy when an experienced and valuable employee joins the competition. In an attempt to lure talent, HR executives highlight the benefits packages. Not knowing what their current benefits package entitles them, employees often perceive the packages offered by the competition as better. A solid employee benefits education program allows them to compare and appreciate their current packages and be that much more resistant to poaching attempts.
Customization: Many companies allow their employees to choose which benefits they need and remove the ones they do not. For example, a healthy employee with no medical issues may not need a medical reimbursement plan. The ability to customize benefits packages needs to be preceded by benefits education so employees can make informed decisions.
Creating a Feedback System: According to Harvard Business Review, employees can choose a lower-paying job with more benefits as opposed to choosing a job with a higher salary with an inferior benefits package. They conducted a survey to figure out which benefits are highly desired.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a comprehensive healthcare package that includes dental and vision is the most desired benefit. Flexible hours and more vacation leaves are next in line. Employees also favor jobs that allow them to work from home.
Creating a transparent feedback system should be a part of the benefits education plan. This will allow you to know what benefits are working towards achieving the organizational HR goals and which are simply draining your budget without yielding anything positive.
Increase in Employee Participation: A lot of employees remain unaware of the health features of their company health insurance policies. Some come with free health checkups and prevention care checkups. Availing these benefits that the company is already paying for not only boosts employee satisfaction but also prevents illnesses that may cause them to take sick leaves. Benefits packages such as corporate discounts often go unutilized which causes organizations to lose money. Education about employee benefits increases participation and it helps companies meet goals that the benefit programs were designed to achieve.