9 Ways to Communicate Employee Benefits

You’re happy with your benefits package and are comfortable with the associated costs. But have you considered how easy the enrollment process is to navigate, or whether your employees truly understand what is available to them?

Here are nine ways to ensure your staff members take full advantage of the benefits your company offers:

1. Communicate. Your employees should be made aware of the benefits you offer early and often. An initial discussion before they are hired and frequent communications thereafter will ensure everyone remains engaged and up-to-date

2. Educate. The size of your company shouldn’t dictate how involved your benefits seminars are; the complexity of your plan should be the major influence. For example, some smaller companies have generous plans, and more time may be needed to get the information across

3. Simplify. Communicate in language your employees understand. It may seem obvious, but if your staff members’ first language is not English, consider offering bilingual benefits materials. You should also be sensitive to varied levels of education and comprehension.

4. Put it in writing. All information about the benefits you offer should be in writing; otherwise you will be constantly putting out fires. Every employee should be given a copy of your benefits handbook, and an overview of how to locate commonly sought information.

5. Go online. If your company uses an intranet site, it can serve as an easy way to communicate benefits information.

6. Keep it relevant. Don’t overwhelm your employees. If your health insurance plan doesn’t provide coverage until 60 or 90 days have passed, your staff does not need to receive all of the details at the beginning of their employment. Rather, communicate the information as the time approaches for his/her participation in the program.

7. Revisit. Periodically reiterate the details and costs associated with your benefits packages so that employees appreciate and understand what is available to them.

8. Ask for feedback. Employee opinion surveys are an excellent way to measure the level of understanding that employees have about the benefits you provide.

9. Offer assistance. Providing a direct number for employees to call when they have questions is another desirable facet of an employee benefits communications plan.Providing a comprehensive benefits package is a wonderful perk for your employees, and educating them about the full range of options available will help ensure they take full advantage of what your company has to offer.

This list was compiled with the help of Marsha Pehrson, manager, Health and Welfare Communications for Insperity; Edgardo Villanueva, president of EMSI Consulting Inc.; and Jackie Bailey, president of Emerald City Consulting.

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