As a benefits consultant, I often get the same question from employers: “what can I be doing differently with my benefits?” The issue here is that there are SO many things that employers can do to either differentiate themselves from the competition (recruiting and retention), OR to simply shake things up (believe it or not, even benefits can get stale).
There are many potential responses to that question—defined contributions, reference-based pricing options, level-funded products, wellness solutions, the resurgence of HRAs, introducing HSAs, etc.—and each/all of them can successfully make a difference. However, before you even consider additional benefits, my “simple” answer is: when (and if) at all possible, Maximize the value of your current benefit offerings
Value, in the employee benefits space, gets overlooked. Does it seem like a rudimentary response to the initial question? Maybe at first! But think about it this way: name one thing in life that you pay as much for as you do your health insurance. Typically, people spend FAR less and spend WAY more time when it comes to buying a new flat screen versus making a decision on which health plan they should elect.
For some people—especially those with families—the amount that they’ll pay for their portion of an employer-sponsored health plan could virtually be like buying a car…except EVERY YEAR! For many, they show up to the annual renewal meeting, sit in a room with their colleagues, and attempt to comprehend their options. Unfortunately, the issue is that the information rarely sinks in.
To be perfectly clear, this is often not the employee or the employer’s fault. It is the combination of a vast shift in society’s payment responsibilities for premiums and services, and a general lack of understanding how the whole system really works. Just think, it was merely 10 years ago when health plans did not have deductibles and we wouldn’t dream of paying for employer-sponsored coverage.
So, what can you do to maximize this value? Educate. Educate. Educate. How can someone truly value something if they don’t understand it?
Here are five easy things you can do to better educate your employees:
Partner with a benefits consultant who knows how to effectively educate your multi-generational workforce.
Survey your population periodically to see if the benefits you have chosen on their behalf are a) understood and b) appreciated. Go straight to the source!
Work with benefit partners who can sit with your employees on a 1:1 basis and assist them with their specific needs.
Think about partnering with a firm who can help your employees with ALL of their benefit needs at once; the more you can logically link these together in the benefits space, the more the value will increase.
Ensure your participants understand the amount the company is paying on their behalf (total comp statements), and who to contact when they run into issues and/or confusion.
with any questions!