Communicating Benefits on National Employee Benefits Day
By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday April 4, 2023Updated : Friday March 31, 2023
Every spring we celebrate National Employee Benefits Day! The day aims to recognize everyone from plan administrators and plan sponsors, to trustees, advocates, advisors, insurers, administrators and more! With all of these parties working in tandem, employee benefits are made possible.
National Employee Benefits Day is also a great reminder to showcase your company benefits and remind employees about all the great services they have access to.
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Why Employees Aren’t Using Their Benefits
Lack of knowledge is the number one reason employees don’t use their benefits. A Harvard Business Review survey found that:
- 58% of employees are not aware of their benefits entitlement
- 63% of employees are unsure how to access them.
So in a lot of cases, employees are simply unaware they even have coverage for specific benefits. If employees don’t know something exists, how can they utilize it?
More frequently, however, it is likely that employees don’t fully comprehend how to use an employee benefit. For example, they may be aware that they have an EAP, but they might not know how to contact the provider. If someone has a confidential personal issue, the last they may want to do is ask someone for information on how to access the service.
Lastly, a lack of understanding when it comes to the benefits of the benefit may also lead to less uptake of certain benefits. If an employee doesn’t understand the gains of using their Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) they might not ever try.
The other reason employees may not use their benefits is, of course, the fact that they simply do not need the service. Why see a physical therapist if you don’t have any physical injuries or issues that need attention?
The Benefits of Benefits Communication
Employee benefits have become a staple of overall employee compensation. Which means that both current and prospective employees are rating and considering the employee benefits you provide. And as noted above, most employees are unaware of their benefits entitlement or how to use them.
So, what can business gain from communicating their employee benefits clearly?
- Higher job satisfaction
- Less absenteeism or presenteeism
- More productive and engaged employees
- Improved employee attrition
According to the 2022 Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey, 83% of employees who are satisfied with their jobs saw their employee benefits plan as excellent or good. Compared with only 49% of employees who were not satisfied with their job.
Benefits also help employees lead healthier lives or help them achieve their goals. They also provide support for mental health and are there for acute or chronic injuries or illnesses.
When employees understand and use their employee benefits, everyone wins! Employees are happier and more productive. And employers know that the investment they’ve made in their employees is worthwhile.
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Lastly, employees are more likely to remain at their current workplace, or choose a new one that offers a good benefits plan.
Employee Benefits Day – The Perfect Time to Enlighten
April 6th is National Employee Benefits Day, and it affords all employers a great opportunity to educate employees about their employee benefits.
According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans (IFEBP), 80% of employees do not read/open their employee benefits materials. Which means more needs to be done to get employees interested and involved.
The trouble is, the subject can be hard to stay focused on if you aren’t in immediate need of the benefit or service. It’s hard to maintain interest in a conversation that doesn’t pertain to you.
The solution to this is twofold: Firstly, make employee benefits education engaging! Try using cartoons or illustrative videos. And ask for audience participation during presentations. Be careful with this though – you’ll want to ask over-arching questions about general topics, not ask for personal information.
For example, you could ask how many dental cleanings is recommended by the Canadian Dental Association per year. Or what percentage of employees across Canada have accessed mental health support in the last 2 years.
Stay away from inquiring who has used the EAP, or how many cavities employees get per year.
The second part is ensuring everyone knows where to find the information in the future. When an employee does require the benefit or service they learned about ages ago and didn’t need, they should know where they can go to find the information they will need to access the benefit. And employees should be reminded of this location frequently to ensure they don’t forget.
Communicating benefits is an ongoing process. And since employees are all unique and learn in different ways, it’s a best practice to provide employee benefits information and training in different mediums. This gives all employees the opportunity to understand and learn in their preferred way.