How to Ensure Your Employees are Taking Full Advantage of Their Benefits
It’s almost that time of year again – the time when employees scroll through pages of benefit options to make elections for the following year. The process can be daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. When it comes to benefits, employers are seeing the weight a thoughtful, comprehensive benefits strategy can carry as we navigate the Great Resignation and competitive landscape. Benefits offerings are a way for employers to set themselves apart and retain top talent, so it’s important to ensure your employees are aware of everything you offer and are utilizing their options.
Employers can make benefits strategy a priority to better articulate the value behind their offerings, creating a more engaged, productive workforce and a better quality of life for their population. Read on for the top three benefits employees aren’t taking full advantage of and the steps HR leaders can take to help raise awareness and drive utilization as we head into the annual enrollment season.
Top Underutilized Benefits
1. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
EAPs are designed to assist employees in resolving personal problems that could affect their performance at work. These programs can range from addressing drug addiction, counseling, grief assistance, and financial counseling. Through EAPs, employees can feel supported and heard, so they remain productive and healthy both inside and outside of work. One reason EAPs are extremely underutilized is because people believe the information shared may be passed to others in the company. That’s not true, and employers need to better communicate EAPs are entirely confidential and privacy is guaranteed. Without consent, companies that offer EAPs are not allowed to share employee information regardless of the situation.
There is also a stigma that lives around mental health at work. People believe that asking for help shows a sign of weakness. Unfortunately, when problems are not addressed, the conflict worsens, creating more stress. Using EAPs gives employees an outlet to receive the care they need when it’s needed to remain at their best.
2. Financial Guidance
Financial health and wellbeing impacts physical and emotional health and wellbeing. When employees don’t feel financially stable, it induces stress, which could cause a decrease in productivity, worsen underlying health conditions, and overall affect their presence in the workplace. Financial guidance can look different for all organizations. From offerings such as educational webinars and online platforms to financial advising sessions for workers to meet one-on-one with experts, there are many ways employers can support financial wellbeing. Unfortunately, many employees don’t realize their organizations offer assistance, which is an area of opportunity for employers to fill the gap.
3. Wellness Platforms
The mental and physical health of employees have a direct effect on the productivity and success of an organization. Employers are discovering the value behind wellness platforms, and because of this, they are willing to make the investment. Wellness programs can come in many forms and include activities that help with nutrition education, fitness, stress management, and more. The overall goal of each is to promote healthy behaviors and positive outcomes, and in turn, reduce employees’ health risks and improve wellbeing. In the growing age of digital health, wellness platform are at the employees’ fingertips, allowing everyone to stay connected with their wellbeing anytime, anywhere. Privacy can be a concern with any digital health platform, so it’s important organizations communicate about privacy and security protocols.
How to Drive Utilization
Benefits can be difficult for employees to comprehend, but employers can take some simple steps to help. Here are three tips HR leaders can implement to better drive awareness and communicate the value of their benefits in preparation for this year’s annual enrollment season.
Giving employees 24/7 access to benefits information will play a crucial part in driving utilization. If you’re reliant on only mailings or emails, you’re going to struggle to get employees to retain information. What if it gets lost as emails pile up? Consistent communications ensure employees are well aware of their benefits package. Instead of focusing solely on annual enrollment, create a communications schedule throughout the year with multiple touchpoints. Normalize the use of benefits and reassure your employees that their privacy is important to the organization. By encouraging the use of benefits, organizations are reminding employees that their health and wellness are what matter most.
Using a multi-pronged strategy helps you meet employees where they are. Events can be extremely valuable for employees to interact with benefits partners and have questions answered by experts. Whether it’s reoccurring webinars, Q&A sessions, or posting online videos to guide employees, these efforts help create a more personal approach when sharing benefits information. Employees are more likely to feel comfortable and have a greater understanding of benefits when they have the opportunity to engage with others year-round.
Selecting benefits can be a complex and challenging process, so it’s important to simplify the message as much as possible. Taking this approach will help keep your employees informed without feeling overwhelmed. Complex language, long paperwork, and access barriers will deter your workers from taking any action and missing opportunities to have a positive impact on their health journey. Thoughtful, intentional messaging can be the difference in improving awareness and increasing utilization of benefits.
At Premise Health, we know that every population is unique. It’s important to customize your approach to best meet all needs, which ultimately will support improved health and wellbeing. If you want to optimize your benefits strategy and make it a top priority to ensure your employees are taking full advantage of their health benefits, connect with us.