20 Dec

Employee Benefits Programs and the Modern Workplace

Jeff Daniels | | Employee Benefits Communication

employee benefits programs planningIn a business landscape characterized by critical and sustained skill shortages, human capital has grown to become a key differentiator for organizations in every industry. In the US, these trends have been exasperated further by record-low unemployment rates, which have made it even more difficult to attract and secure top-tier talent.

As the labor market tightens, many employers are looking to for ways to optimize employee recruitment and retention. Increasingly, companies are relying on their benefits programs to enable these objectives. Silicon Valley behemoths like Facebook, Netflix and Google are leading the charge in this regard.

The Value Benefits Programs Bring

These organizations routinely rank amongst the most attractive workplaces in the world, thanks to their varied and often non-traditional benefits, which can include everything from generous parental-leave allowances to housing stipends, health and wellness initiatives, bereavement benefits and free food. While these unconventional perks are highly publicized (which certainly helps with the recruitment side of things), the most valuable benefits as far as retention are still conventional incentives such as PTO, health insurance and flexible work hours.

voluntary benefits programsResearch shows that, when properly planned and communicated, benefits programs can unlock a number of competitive advantages.

• They improve employee morale.

• They positively impact company culture.

• They increase employee retention.

Parental-care-support programs can reduce employee stress, improve workplace performance and boost overall job satisfaction.

Surveyed employees indicated better benefits are a key factor in where they choose to work.

However, studies also reveal that organizations who deliver on these expectations don’t necessarily reap all the rewards of their benefits programs. This is because a large portion of employees do not understand—or are simply unaware of—the benefits their employers provide. This communications gap is a pressing concern for human resource teams and hiring managers, who seek new ways to drive awareness amongst existing and prospective employees.

Modern Onboarding Communications

Benefits is just one piece of the information puzzle new employees are handed when they start a new position. Taking a holistic approach to the onboarding process will help them assemble that puzzle with greater ease and will ensure crucial aspects—like benefits programs and education—get the attention they need to improve worker understanding and comprehension.

Effective communications are about both the content and the messaging method. Personalization is a growing trend for improving the employee experience, but it can be difficult to find scalable methods that don’t also lean toward broader, standardized messages. Employee onboarding is the perfect example of this dilemma, as there are certain areas with near-universal application (like benefits enrollment), while others are department or job specific (like various training modules).

At Flimp, we’ve developed our digital postcard offerings to strike a balance between personalization and standardization. As an interactive microsite, digital postcards empower employees to navigate the information in a personalized way. They can watch explanatory videos, review documents, access portals and more at their own pace and focus on the aspects most relevant to their needs. At the same time, the digital postcard can accommodate the broad range of information from universal materials (like emergency contact forms) to more directed resources (like department-specific training).

Video and Benefits Education

Benefits programs and enrollment guidelines usually fall in the category of being universally applicable but that doesn’t mean employees’ experiences with benefits are universal. New and younger employees are likely to need more education than those who have been with the company so long they know the open enrollment process almost as well as the HR managers do. Educational videos are a great way to supplement benefits communications. Featuring an overview video can highlight coverage changes and the process of enrolling, while additional videos can provide more detailed information on specific topics, voluntary offerings or even handy healthcare jargon to help employees effectively use coverage once they have it. The combination of visual and audio cues that video provides boost information retention.

For benefits programs to truly succeed in the modern workplace, they need to be communicated in a way that makes it easier for employees to access the information and resources necessary to understand and benefit from what’s offered. (Pun intended.)