Nearly all HR professionals invest a bulk of time (and budget) each year planning and executing a benefits strategy they can feel proud of for employees. The goal of the time spent crafting benefit offerings is to provide an abundance of support, and add to an employee's total compensation package.That said, benefits aren’t always leveraged in the way HR teams had intended. Efforts to build benefits programs can fall flat if you miss the mark on communicating the how and what to the employee population.
We’ve rounded up some tips to help boost usage of benefit offerings through effective communication channels.
Educate employees through onboarding
Consider adding information about your company benefits to your careers page or job descriptions. Educate employees about all benefits on offer through employee onboarding. This is also when employees will have some extra time to deep dive into benefits that are available. Provide a checklist for employees to sign up for all benefits in their onboarding, and ask managers (or your onboarding team) to check in on this list with their new hire in a 1:1.
Train managers to talk about benefits as a problem-solving strategy, and as a part of an employee's total compensation. Managers should feel confident talking about the company's benefits. This will help a manager use this suite of tools to offer support to an employee in a coaching conversation—whether it's a need for time off, wellness benefits, access to an EAP for financial/tax, bereavement or legal advice, support for a family member through this EAP, etc. And, when compensation is discussed—through performance reviews or 1:1—managers should feel comfortable speaking to all pieces of the ‘total compensation’ pie.
Create an ongoing conversation
Benefits discussions reach beyond open enrollment. Brainstorm creative ways to resurface available benefits. For example, send out a quarterly email with specific use cases for certain benefits. Share ideas and stories on usage to inspire others.
Make it accessible
Is there an internal hub where employees can easily view and manage their benefits? Do employees know where it is and how to access? Make it easy for your organization to check out what’s available on an internal wiki/intranet. Provide clear contact information for vendors and insurance companies, as well. Most vendors would be happy to host webinars to explain their benefit, and how to get in touch. If available, record these and post for all new hires and employees to view.
Build an integrative strategy
Craft your benefits strategy into your broader people or employee engagement strategy. When you’re talking about your culture survey feedback and areas of focus, mention your focus and energy on benefits as a way to address themes of compensation and rewards. Make the link for your employees.
Use these tips help you to communicate and build awareness of your benefits with your teams. Asking for feedback from your population is another great way to ensure your teams know what’s available in your employee benefits package.
This blog post was written by Sarah Tobin, Talent Development Manager at Calm. Sarah has global experience in talent management and people operations, and a Masters degree in Organizational Psychology. Her passion is understanding the people operations and employee experience that contribute to making the world a happier and healthier place... one team at a time!