Don't underestimate the value of communications and education as a way to strengthen your company's benefits package.
A study by the Prudential Insurance Company looked at a number of variables that affected employees’ perceived value of their benefits, and the effectiveness of communications topped the list. The study found effective communications can have as much an impact on employees’ satisfaction with their benefits as the actual benefits or amount of money invested in the benefits.
Even when economic factors force cutbacks and layoffs, organizations that focus on a strong communications program help their employees not only understand, but also appreciate, the benefits available to them – which contributes toward positive employee morale.
A separate survey from Watson Wyatt Worldwide dramatically shows the impact of benefits communications:
“Companies with above average benefits but ineffective communications had a 25% employee satisfaction level, while those with below average benefits but effective communications had a 76% employee satisfaction level.”
Stated another way, it can be better for a company to provide fewer benefits but explain them well, than to provide an expansive-and costly-package of benefits that employees don't really understand.
Keep the following considerations in mind when assessing your benefit communications program:
- Written communications should be in simple and understandable, yet engaging, language. Employees will respond best to communications that they can directly relate to, so use specific examples or modeling tools to help employees select benefits and understand how the benefits can work for them.
- Recognizing that different individuals learn in different ways, use various communication methods and incorporate visuals along with text.
- Communicate throughout the year, not only during open enrollment.
- Help employees understand how the company's benefits offerings are particularly relevant to them.
- Communicate the full value of your benefit's program by providing regular benefit statements. Reminding employees of their total compensation is a great way improve your employees' perception of existing benefit programs.
If the prospect of embarking on a benefits communications campaign seems daunting, give us a call. We can help you provide ideas and strategies along with actual communications materials to enrich your employees’ understanding of their benefits.
Don’t underestimate the value of communications and education as a way to strengthen your company’s benefits package. As the research above indicates, dollars spent on communication and education can be as valuable an investment as dollars spent on the benefits themselves.
Be sure to take a look at a few of our sample benefit communication pieces online or give us a call today.