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.
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.
Read our Employee Benefits Communication Guide for more.
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.