How to Communicate Benefits to Employees

The problem revealed herein is one of communication on the part of the employer. Letting your people know what potentially life-changing benefits are available to them, as well as how they may be accessed, is a critical first step in generating a positive ROI from the advantages you create for them, and it’s worth putting the extra effort in to make sure both job-seekers and current employees understand what you’re offering.

Tuition assistance and other workforce education programs are among the most popular benefits which modern organizations are offering to their employee base. Yet research from Bain & Co. demonstrates that, despite the billions companies spend each year on these initiatives, workers are only engaging with them at about a 1-2% rate. 

The assumption for many would be that employees just aren’t interested in continued education benefits. However, 80% of employees polled in the same study indicated a desire to pursue advanced learning while working – but only 40% knew their employer offered educational benefits. And a mere 25% of employees ever start the application process, citing navigational difficulties as the reason their enrollment is never completed.

The problem revealed herein is one of communication on the part of the employer. Letting your people know what potentially life-changing benefits are available to them, as well as how they may be accessed, is a critical first step in generating a positive ROI from the advantages you create for them, and it’s worth putting the extra effort in to make sure both job-seekers and current employees understand what you’re offering.

Why communicating benefits to employees is more important than ever

Transparency and even a little pride in the benefits your company offers does wonders for your employer brand if you display them from the beginning. Top talent are more likely to submit an application when they see you offer competitive perks. 

One Glassdoor survey indicates that 57% of job seekers seriously take benefits into account when deciding whether to apply. Talent is scarce, and competition is fierce, so businesses that openly display their benefits menu from contact will have an easier time keeping critical positions filled. 

But you also need to help employees understand how to take advantage of benefits once they arrive. Lack of engagement in job perks can be costly to an organization as they allocate resources towards initiatives which generate little to no return. 

Research from MetLife demonstrates that employees are often too anxious to ask for help if they aren’t sure how to access a particular benefit, leaving available resources untouched or underutilized. The best solution to this problem is clear, consistent communication regarding employee benefits so both your organization and your employee base can profit. 

The business case for communicating employee benefits and improving engagement

Common organizational human pain points include turnover, lack of engagement, absenteeism, and reduced productivity. And all of these causes for sleepless nights among the c-suite can be addressed with better employee benefits engagement. 

Organizations are recently beginning to implement benefits categories which focus on employee wellness, rather than emergent inevitabilities of life. Many of these advantages work to address stressors within the day-to-day and provide a long-term impact on workforce wellbeing. 

For example, financial wellness programs mean fewer emergency withdrawals from 401K accounts as well as reduced general stress when your workers aren’t worrying about money. Similarly, mental health support programs and accessible, comprehensive healthcare mean fewer sick days taken and reduced rates of absenteeism, which in turn leads to higher rates of engagement and productivity.

Retention rates and employee satisfaction statistics are also improved when workers feel cared for and valued by their employer. But your employees need to know about these benefits, and how to access them, for if you want to generate results like these. Clear communication regarding employee benefits needs to become a priority of HR operations. 

The best way to communicate benefits to employees

Listing advantages in job descriptions and having them explained further as part of the onboarding process are both important aspects of familiarizing your employees with current company benefits packages. But you need to go a few steps further to ensure workers will feel confident and comfortable in engaging them to their best ability. 

Your ideal employee communication strategy should include facets to improve upon traditional structures. These facets will help you answer the following questions:

  1. Do employees know all of the benefits available to them?

  2. Do employees know how to access and engage all of the benefits available to them?

  3. Do employees feel supported by your current benefits?

We’ll dive a little deeper into these facets in the next few sections. 

Communication facet #1: Employee knowledge

Your package may update, things may shift around, or employees may not remember the specific benefits available to them beyond orientation. It’s important to continuously communicate and remind your employees of the perks your organization offers. 

If you have regular company communications like newsletters etc., include a section dedicated to employee benefits. You can highlight and detail one benefit per communication, or re-list each of them with a small blurb encouraging workers to ask management for more information if they want it. You might also consider sending out regular emails, putting up flyers, or having voluntary seminars wherein you talk more extensively about employee benefit possibilities. 

Communication facet #2: Employee comprehension

Now that your workers definitely know which benefits you offer, the next step is making sure they know how to use them.

The details of how employees can access, enroll, and take the best advantage of their benefits can be included in your newsletter or email communiques as a first step. Management should also be solicited to provide in-depth reviews of enrollment and application processes with their direct reports for those employees who may prefer verbal explanation. 

Of course the details will be benefit-specific. For example, here are a few guiding questions you may ask employees to make sure they understand how to access your financial wellness program:

  • Do you understand the different aspects of financial planning and management this program offers?
  • Are you aware that our company offers a student loan repayment support initiative?
  • Do you know how to access this program to help you manage your taxes this year?

Communication facet #3: Employee satisfaction

Having insight into how your employees feel about your current benefits package can help you to discern whether problems with engagement are due to issues in communication, or a genuine lack of interest on the part of your workforce. 

Soliciting feedback from your workers regarding their benefits is critical to benefits engagement, and can easily be done via a survey solution or simply through email. It can be as simple as one question per benefit, asking employees to rate how satisfied they feel on a scale of 1 - 5 for each.

If you want to build a more in-depth and comprehensive survey, check out our other insight: [benefits survey article link]

Final thoughts: How to communicate benefits to employees

Before you develop your winning communications strategy, you need to make sure you offer a benefits package that adequately serves the needs of your contemporary workforce. 

Employee expectations are changing, and with the continued emphasis on benefits as a point of competition between potential employers, your organization should now be evaluating your current package and updating to offer modern, desirable, and useful advantages workers want to see. 

Workers love an employer that empowers them to live their best lives beyond the office. And that’s what the Origin solution does. A comprehensive, holistic financial wellness program, origin puts employee financial wellness into the hands of the individual by providing accessible tools, professional support, and resources for better financial literacy. With Origin, workers are relieved of financial stress, and businesses enjoy a more present, more productive workforce. 

Sign up for a free demo today to see what else Origin can do for you.


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