Why Tackling Benefits Awareness is Vital for Your Company

Why Tackling Benefits Awareness is Vital for Your Company

As an employer, you invest a lot of resources into making sure your employees are taken care of and have a competitive benefits package. This often comes in the form of providing health insurance, dental, wellness, 401k, and other essential offerings. But are your employees aware of all the excellent benefits you offer? This may seem like an odd question to ask, but the truth is that simply providing benefits doesn’t guarantee your employees will know about them and use them. There’s a lot of work that goes into generating awareness, and it’s a step that many companies don’t focus on as much as they should. Let’s take a look into the current state of benefits awareness to understand this issue better.

The current state of benefits awareness

A Gallup study found that more than 85% of large employers offer a wellness program, but 40% of those employees aren’t aware that the plan exists. Just imagine, if your company is paying for 1,000 people to be part of a wellness program and 400 people aren’t aware that you’re even offering the program. Is that money well spent?

While this study focuses specifically on wellness programs, this is a trend that’s observable across all benefits. It’s difficult to pin down exactly why awareness rates are so low across the board, but there are a few likely reasons:

  • Little to no investment in education. It’s easy to spend all your time thinking about which benefits to offer and forget about the second half of the equation: education. Without strategically sharing basic information often – like which benefits you offer and where they can be accessed – employees will continue to remain in the dark.
  • A high-friction benefits experience. Healthcare and employee benefits aren’t known for having particularly consumer-friendly experiences. The benefits experience can be particularly frustrating for employees since information tends to be scattered across multiple places – making it difficult for employees to access and use. That’s why a seamless benefits experience is an important factor to consider when it comes to awareness. A list of ten websites and phone numbers is a poor holistic experience.

  • Lack of available guidance. Lastly, as an employer, you may recognize that you have a benefits awareness problem. But you’re not sure what steps to take to fix it. People want access to help wherever and whenever they need it. Searching a collection of websites or waiting for office hours for help can be less than ideal.

Why boosting benefits awareness is vital for your company

Boosting benefits awareness isn’t just a box to check – it’s a critical step every company needs to take if they truly want to maximize their offerings. You’ll quickly see that investing the right resources into this problem can lead to impactful results, such as:

  • Increase in engagement: The most obvious advantage that comes with boosting awareness is that it will lead to employees actually engaging with their benefits. This, in turn, will create a waterfall of other positive outcomes and also ensures that the offerings you invested in don’t go to waste. Everyone knows that things like wellness programs or telemedicine deliver a positive ROI, but increasing engagement has been difficult in the past.
  • Boost in employee satisfaction: You can provide the world’s most comprehensive benefits package, but if your employees aren’t aware of them, it may as well not exist. And no employee is going to be happy working at a company with no benefits – especially considering that 84% of employees with high benefit satisfaction also report high job satisfaction. The more you can make employees aware of the fantastic benefits they do have access to, the happier they’ll be.

  • Cost savings: Benefits are ultimately designed to save employees time, money, or both. So whether it’s properly using their health insurance or taking advantage of a gym reimbursement, you can see why increasing awareness would lead to cost savings for the employee. The same goes for the employer – you already invested in these benefits, so it’s a huge waste to have them sit around without being used. Plus, you won’t reap the financial benefits that come with having a happier and healthier workforce.  

The solution

To combat low awareness, you need a robust plan that can be put into action throughout the year. We encourage you to get creative with your ideas, but in case you’re feeling stuck, here are a few tactics you can start off with:

  • Host a lunch and learn. Depending on the size of your company, you can host monthly or quarterly lunch and learns where you gather the whole company and review your benefits together. This ensures that everyone has exposure to this information multiple times throughout the year and also presents a space for employees to ask questions. 
  • Launch an email campaign. Ask your HR and marketing team to join forces and launch a creative email campaign around your benefits offerings. This is a great way to create regular touchpoints with your employees and share valuable information. Employees will also have the flexibility to go back and review past emails if they ever need a refresher. 
  • Print educational materials. I Leave brochures in the common spaces or hand them out during team gatherings so your employees have something to reference when they have questions. Even the visuals of having materials around the office can help keep benefits top of mind for employees. Posters around the office also work great to build awareness. 
  • Leverage technology. In the last few years, the availability of virtual assistance and artificial intelligence has changed the benefits awareness game. Having a proactive virtual assistant working year round to educate and engage your employees can increase benefits satisfaction for your entire offering. View technology as a partner on your journey to creating a better benefits experience.

While the current state of benefits awareness is less than ideal, the good news is that there’s lots of room for improvement. Now that you’re aware of the advantages of boosting awareness around your offerings, you can take some of the steps we outlined to bring more well-deserved attention to your benefits.

Why Employees Need A Seamless Benefits Experience

Why Employees Need A Seamless Benefits Experience

What makes it so easy to use a service like Amazon? There are a number of reasons: you can access product offerings in one place, filter for cost and quality, and easily see where you qualify for Prime shipping. In short, the experience is seamless.

There are few experiences in healthcare that mirror this type of consumer-friendly service. One area that tends to cause a lot of frustration for employees, in particular, is around a company’s benefits offerings. Not only is it frequently unclear which benefits a company offers but benefits information also tends to be scattered across multiple places – making it difficult for employees to access and use.

While this may not seem like a big deal at first glance, it can actually lead to negative outcomes, from unhappy employees to increased healthcare costs for your organization. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to create a seamless benefits experience for your employees:

Redirection to lower-cost care

Presenting benefits information in one place saves time and money. Let’s say one of your employees comes down with the flu in the middle of the night. Due to a complex benefits experience, he isn’t aware the company offers a free telemedicine benefit and goes to the emergency room or urgent care instead. Not only does he pay an unnecessarily high out-of-pocket cost, but he also waits hours to receive care. If he knew about his telemedicine benefit, he could have saved himself the trouble and achieved the same outcome.

But it’s not just about short-term cost savings. Your employees may miss out on the opportunity to access truly life-changing benefits that can improve their health and, as a result, save money in the long run. For instance, many companies offer programs that help employees manage their weight or chronic diseases. This is a benefit that can save people from unnecessary doctor’s visits and hospital bills down the road.

An increase in employee benefits satisfaction

One of the worst feelings – for both employers and employees – is to discover an awesome benefit the company offers halfway through the year. A seamless experience helps make employees aware of the generous benefits you’ve already invested in, letting them know you care about their wellbeing. This can lead to improvements in happiness, productivity, and retention; that’s why 84% of employees with high benefit satisfaction also report high job satisfaction, according to a workplace benefits study by Guardian Life.

Also, keep in mind that the war for talent is more competitive than ever before, with unemployment rates at an all-time low. This makes it critical for companies to not only offer an attractive benefits package but also to make sure their employees are actually gaining something positive from it. Otherwise, you risk losing your best employees to a competitor who both offers and makes it easy for employees to access their benefits offerings.

Year-round engagement

It’s a problem when your employees are only engaging with their benefits around open enrollment. Benefits shouldn’t be something they “set and forget.” They’re offerings that have a significant impact on the physical, mental, and financial wellbeing of employees. When you take steps to make benefits easily accessible, you’re also increasing the chance employees will engage with them. If there’s too much complexity, you risk employees unnecessarily dipping into their own wallets for a benefit that’s already covered or – worse – foregoing care.

That’s why it’s so important to invest in education efforts throughout the year – not just around open enrollment season. We recommend creating multiple opportunities for employees to learn about their benefits, so it’s always top of mind for them. You can use tactics like regular lunch and learns with benefits vendors, ongoing email campaigns, or monthly webinars where employees can bring their burning questions to the table. There are tons of creative ways to teach employees about the amazing healthcare benefits they have within their benefits package.

Time saved for HR

Finally, let’s give our friends in HR a break. Presenting all of your employees’ benefits in one easy-to-find location will drastically reduce the number of questions the HR department receives, such as “do we have an HSA or FSA?” or “where do I access the company’s gym discount?” These are all questions that should be easy for employees to answer for themselves. Trust us; your HR department will thank you later.

Also, if you have a benefits experience that also includes a healthcare concierge service, the time (and cost) savings can be even greater. A concierge can personally guide your employees through the process of finding high-quality and low-cost care, make calls to doctor’s offices on their behalf, and check to see if care is in-network.

Creating a seamless benefits experience for your employees doesn’t have to be a heavy lift on your end, but it will pay huge dividends. As a next step, assess the current state of your benefits experience and identify where the gaps are. Then find a partner who can help you fill in those holes to make the process of finding, accessing, and utilizing benefits truly seamless for your employees. As a result, you’re likely to see cost savings, more satisfied workers, increased engagement, and a happier HR department.

Ten Ways to Boost Employee Morale At Your Company

Ten Ways to Boost Employee Morale At Your Company

As a company goes through its natural ups and downs, employee morale will change over time. That’s normal! But if left unchecked, negative morale can have a long term detrimental effect on your company. Getting a pulse on your employees’ morale on an ongoing basis is extremely important to ensure a great company culture. We use tools like OfficeVibe to continuously monitor our company, identify issues, find areas of improvement and add hard data to the process. Over the last five years, we’ve used ten methods to increase employee satisfaction and boost morale.

Have a great mission

People want to work for companies because they believe in their mission and the kind of work they get to do. It’s an essential part of hiring and helps your company stand out.  At HealthJoy, our mission is to help employees make better healthcare decisions. We help people save time and money, and we’ve even saved a couple of lives along the way. It’s a mission that our employees are passionate about, and we remind them of the importance of their work everyday by sharing success stories. Almost every company has a purpose other than just making money and giving people a paycheck. Make sure to highlight your mission and talk about it often with your employees.

Give praise

The phrase “you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar” is true with morale as well. It’s important to give negative feedback to an employee, but you need to make sure to give praise where praise is due. Even if it’s “someone job,” people want to hear praise for a job well done. Be specific and sincere. Highlight the less obvious; it’s easy to tell the office manager good job for getting the office lunch. It’s less common to praise them for going all “Container Store” on your marketing material and making you feel like Marie Kondo came for a visit (thanks Mallory).

Have fun together

It’s easy to get stuck in professional “work mode” when you have a ton to do, but having fun in the office is a great morale booster. It also allows you to see other team members in a different light. You can plan events or go for a last minute happy hour. It doesn’t matter what you do but have a little fun! At HealthJoy, we do a happy hour twice a month. We’ve gone ax throwing, seen the Cubs play, played WhirlyBall, gone on off-sites on the lake and much more. It’s important that people grow bonds outside of work.

Step up when needed

If you want to boost employee morale, stick up for your employees. If you have an angry client on the phone, take the call instead of leaving it to the entry-level employee. Have a client that everyone hates? Fire them! It might seem drastic, but put your people first. At HealthJoy, I’ve seen the CEO use a toilet plunger. No one is “too important” to do the smallest jobs. Everyone at our company will do anything to help our clients have the best healthcare experience possible.

Let them vent

Sometimes, an employee only wants to be heard. Ask for feedback and do it often. Don’t just expect people to volunteer feedback; be proactive. You can use a free tool like SurveyMonkey to create surveys and get a pulse on what’s going on. HealthJoy has been growing quickly – we’re doubling our headcount this year alone – so we can’t leave feedback to chance.

Celebrate the wins

Want to achieve your lofty company goals? Celebrate the small victories. Realize that big goals aren’t going to happen overnight. If you fail to celebrate the smaller accomplishments, you’ll diminish the motivation you need to keep in the right path. We grew our member base last year by 600% and by celebrating every small win along the way.

Allow people to pursue passion projects

At many companies, your yearly goals are your only goals. Any work that strays from that goal can be viewed in a negative light, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Side projects can be a useful outlet for creative energy and allow employees to explore new tools and ideas. It can be projects that are done outside of the office or giving people time to explore a concept during work time. At HealthJoy, our employees have amazing lives that we celebrate. Khem Khoeun was the first Cambodian-American woman elected to public office in the United States when she became a Skokie Park commissioner. The entire office went to her swearing ceremony to celebrate her win.

Volunteer

We help our members every day with their healthcare, but that doesn’t prevent us from volunteering as a team for great causes. It’s a good team building activity and increases collaboration. Next month, HealthJoy is volunteering atUrban Initiatives, a great program that helps empower Chicago’s youth to become community leaders. Researchers have also noticed that Millennials are extremely socially-aware and civic-minded, with 70% of this age group sharing their time with charitable causes. What’s not to like about giving back!

Get rid of a jerk

Have you ever had to deal with a toxic employee at the workplace? They usually decrease the productivity of others, demotivate other employees and may even put your business at risk. Sometimes this behavior can be fixed by helping the individual understand the issues and putting in steps to remedy the situation. If the behavior continues, sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and get rid of them. Getting rid of a bad apple will instantly improve employee morale.

Vacation days

WIth the constant influx of emails, deadlines, and work, it’s easy to get stressed from work. Some level of stress is healthy, but continuous pressure can be a health issue. Studies have shown that taking a vacation reduces stress, increases immune function and increases productivity. People are also more creative after a vacation. Adding a generous vacation policy and encouraging people to use them is a great way to boost employee morale. At HealthJoy, we offer unlimited vacation days but come the new year, a large percentage of our client’s launch. This leads our Customer Success team to working long hours under lots of stress. We make sure that quickly after the madness, everyone take a few days off and disconnect. It’s vital to both their short- and long-term health and happiness.

Promote a healthy lifestyle

When we launched OfficeVibe at the office, one of the things that surprised us was our wellness scores. They were lower than we would have liked, so we made a change. We brought in treadmill and bike desks, increased access to healthy snacks, added more fish options to our weekly catered company lunches and encouraged physical activity. Our wellness scores have gone up, and we’ve heard lots of positive comments from our employees.

Track the pulse of employee morale

It takes constant work to maintain a dynamic company culture. Even small decisions can have unintended consequences for your employee morale. The only way to make sure you’re headed in the right direction is to track and continuously work on keeping things positive.

A Marketers Approach to Writing Job Descriptions

A Marketers Approach to Writing Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are usually the first interaction a potential employee has with a company. It can set the tone for a candidates perception of a company but many times its an afterthought. When writing job descriptions, you have to ask yourself, does it reflect your brand and company culture? Most job postings you read are quite frankly boring and overly formal. Yes, you have to list the basics like job requirements and duties but are you striking an emotional code with the reader? Here are a few tips from a marketing perspective for writing job descriptions.

Choose the right title for the job

A job title is like the subject line of an email; if you use the wrong title, no one will bother opening it. A job title is also how someone will identify themselves both internally within the company and socially with their peers. Just think of the last social event you went to with people you haven’t meet. Many times, what do you do for a living is the best question people will ask someone.

Titles should be concise, easy to understand without corporate speak. Titles like “Entry Level HW Computer Technician/System Services-Rep” (as seen on IBM) or “Security Engineer Level III “ are filled with corporate speak. Terms like “level III” might mean something to your company internally but mean zero to someone looking from the outside. You can always give more clarity within the job description. Also tells the relative seniority consistently through all job titles to make it clear where the role fits in your organization. Try and use the least amount of words possible when picking a job title.

Give people an idea about a jobs day-to-day activity

Be open and provide enough information on what a person is expected to be doing within a role. Let them know about projects they will participate in, the team they are working with and talk about the company culture. Try and paint a picture for people on what they will be doing on a given day, even if every day is expected to be different. Job activities vary as much as personalities do, the ideal candidate it a perfect match between the two. You can use a short paragraph to tell a short story to help people envision themselves in a role.

Explain the company culture and environment

One of my first jobs in tech was with a food broker, even though my role was technical, the environment and culture were very different from most white collar positions. We had areas in the buildings with forklifts and semis driving in. The atmosphere was a dynamic blend of people from different cultures and backgrounds. Highlight what makes your company unique, and somewhere people would want to work. Is your office quiet or a loud manufacturing plant? Are you more likely to have a company outing to a sporting event or Comic-Con? Most companies like to cover these topics on a website career page but remember, many times jobs are posted outside of your website, so touch on your culture.

Layout your “must have” skills

Now, once you got them interested in your job listing, got them excited about the job and your culture, it’s now time to make sure they are qualified. Make this section easy to scan by using bullet points. They should figure out in seconds if they are eligible.  Begin by listing out your “required skills” for the position. This can include experience, licenses, education, training, skills, and achievements. Follow up this section with “preferred skills,” those nice to have that isn’t mandatory. This will give people an idea if they are providing anything unique to the table.

“I don’t even have any good skills. You know like nunchuck skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills. Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills!”  

                          – Napoleon

Money isn’t everything

78% of workers base their acceptance or rejection of a job offer in part on the benefits package. The job market for many positions is hyper-competitive, and people want no only a good culture but great benefits as well. Of course, you need to offer excellent health, dental, and vision insurance, and the HealthJoy app would be the cherry on the cake.

You also need other benefits that employees crave, the 2nd biggest being flexibility and improve work-life balance. When posting your job, make sure to list your best job perks. These can even include glimpses to a fun job culture like company sponsored happy hours, snacks and free lunches.

Watch what you say when writing job descriptions

Words matter, if you can access the help of a professional copywriter, do so. If your company is smaller, seek help from a freelancer. Nail down a compelling template that sets the tone you want to present. Your tonality should match your culture. You can also try automated tools like Textio.com, which tells you how effective your writing will be at recruiting and avoid pitfalls like gender leaning words.

How To Welcome A New Employee To The Team

How To Welcome A New Employee To The Team

Starting a new job is overwhelming to say the least. In your own experience, you may recall facing a whirlwind of paperwork, instructions, and introductions to new faces. A new hire’s first day of work sets the tone for their entire tenure with a company. Notably, those who report a positive onboarding experience have higher rates of employee retention, productivity, and engagement throughout their employee lifecycle. This means early impressions matter a lot, and having a solid onboarding strategy will pay dividends. Here are some tried and true ways to welcome a new employee and get excited about their new role from day one.

Designate a welcome team

Walking into a room full of unfamiliar faces can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Creating a welcome team as an internal initiative can make the process of diving into a new environment much easier for recent hires. Concerning team responsibilities, small gestures can go a long way. Make sure someone is ready to greet the new employee at the door, lead them to their desk space, and give a tour of the office. It’s also important to have their workstation established in advanced and fully stocked with the tools they’ll need to do their work. Throughout the day, the team should remain proactive in helping the new hire adjust to office life, perhaps striking up conversations or answering questions to help them feel as comfortable and welcome as possible.

Let everyone know they are coming

You should publicize a new hire’s arrival within the company on their first day. Whether it be over your company’s messaging platform, the PA system, or email, a company-wide announcement will guarantee that everyone gets the memo. A welcome message doesn’t need to be complicated– a simple statement including their name, role, department, and perhaps a fun fact or two is plenty of information for company members to spark a conversation with their newest co-worker.

Create a visual reminder

While verbal or written announcements can help build awareness of a new employee’s presence, a single visual reminder is worth a thousand words. The recent trend of tying balloons to a new employee’s desk or chair is a powerful way to make them feel welcome and special, but also easily identifiable to coworkers who are eager to greet them. The gesture is the perfect way to send the message that the arrival of each new employee to a company is something to celebrate.

Less paperwork, more on-the-job training

Ideally, onboarding paperwork should be emailed to new employees and completed before their first day. Companies today are leveraging technology to offer onboarding portals, welcome emails, and engaging video tours to new employees before they even set foot in the office. These virtual tools have become a powerful way to give employees a taste of the company’s values, culture, and history.

By taking care of the administrative details beforehand, new employees can spend their time in the office engaged in more valuable activities, like training and face-time with coworkers. Simple tasks, setting up email accounts or using Slack, can require more instruction than a seasoned user might realize.

Depending on the size of the company, the new hire’s direct manager might be responsible for showing the new employee how to master the various tools and technologies their job requires. Otherwise, you should assign a veteran employee within the company as a mentor for the new hire. As a point-person, mentors can also be helpful for advising on things to do in the area or tips on how to commute between places, which are invaluable to employees who have recently relocated for the job.

Take them out to lunch

Lunch is an excellent time for managers to get to know new employees and gain a sense of what motivates them, what their goals are, and how to help them best succeed in their new role. On the flip side, new employees will also benefit from the valuable one-on-one time during which they can draw inspiration from their manager’s career path, history, experiences, and wisdom. Besides, lunch can be a great space to help fill in gaps in a new hire’s knowledge. This might include crucial insight into team dynamics, workplace culture, or new company developments. No matter what the topic of conversation is, going out to lunch with a new employee will get the ball rolling on building rapport that will spark employee engagement and productivity in the long run.

Provide a first-day agenda

Faced with a bunch of new tasks, a to-do list or agenda can help guide new employees through the storm. Listing essential agenda items, organized by category (administrative, training, meetings, personal, etc.) can help the new employee know what to focus on despite having many tasks vying for their attention at once. A more detailed first-day schedule might include chunks of time devoted to the activities outlined above, including a lunch break with the manager or time spent for introductions around the office.

Welcome a new employee with a little gift

Employee welcome packages, also known as “onboarding kits,” are a game-changer for onboarding efforts. These kits often include some company-branded gear, like t-shirts and mugs, a handwritten-note, various gadgets, and other office essentials. These welcome gifts guarantee that employees feel appreciated from the moment they sit at their new desk.

What’s more, welcome gifts can be practical for building a company’s internal brand. Based on the ethos of the kit, employees will gain insight into the company’s overarching culture and core values. Whether the company is sleek and refined, quirky and eccentric, or artsy and creative, a welcome gift is a perfect canvas for a company to show off its personality to newcomers. The collection of different items, guides, and tools represent what the company is all about. This isn’t to mention the benefits to employee engagement that come with receiving a gift. The relatively small gesture of providing a welcome kit can boost an employees enthusiasm and excitement for joining the team and lays the foundations for them to become champions of company culture over time.

Final Thoughts

The purpose of the onboarding period is not just bringing new employees onboard the company administratively, but helping them get on board with the company’s values and goals. The right mix of welcome activities, mentorship, and recognition can be enough to set employees on a path to becoming the next great advocate for your company’s culture and mission. All employees deserve a chance at a work-life that is personally and professionally fulfilling, and companies can achieve this through the impression they make on their people beginning on day one.