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.

10 Tips for Your Employee Benefits Presentations Inspired by TED Talks

10 Tips for Your Employee Benefits Presentations Inspired by TED Talks

Want to avoid the dreaded yawns during your open enrollment and employee benefits presentations? We’ve compiled ten tips inspired by some of the greatest TED talks ever given into one amazing eBook. Although the subject matter of benefits might initially sound a little dull compared to the life-changing ideas of the typical TED talk, benefits have a more significant impact on people’s everyday lives. Let’s get them excited about their latest benefits package because benefits can save lives!

Engage your colleagues with the benefits package you worked so hard to build by downloading your copy of our latest eBook 10 Tips for Your Employee Benefits Presentations. Discover tips to inform and educate your colleagues that you can begin using today.

 

6 Tips for Better Open Enrollment Emails

6 Tips for Better Open Enrollment Emails

For human resource departments, there isn’t a more stressful time of year than open enrollment season. It seems that everyone has a love-hate relationship with employee benefits: employees demand great benefits, but when it comes time actually to learn about benefits they tune out. It’s not just you; Aflac did a survey and found that 26% of Millennials would rather clean a toilet than research their health benefits.

So when you’re communicating about your benefits, you need to do everything you can to grab and hold attention. To lend a hand, I’ve collected several tips I’ve discovered during my career in Internet marketing writing thousands of emails into one helpful eBook that’s tailored for HR. Download to improve your writing chops and ensure that your next series of open enrollment emails don’t get lost in your audience’s inbox. 
 

14 Ways Employers Can Save Money On Healthcare

14 Ways Employers Can Save Money On Healthcare

The costs of healthcare benefits are expected to skyrocket to nearly $15,000 per employee per year according to the National Business Group on Health. To maintain a competitive benefits package over the coming years, companies need to ask themselves one question: How are we containing healthcare costs? Companies actually have a lot of control in managing costs; it isn’t easy, but it can be done.

There’s no single solution for tackling rising healthcare costs. That’s why we collected more than a dozen tips that companies of all sizes can implement to control their spending into one valuable eBook. Download your copy of 14 Ways Employers Can Save Money on Healthcare to get started saving.