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Effective Benefits Communications Saves Your Company Money, Time and Energy December 24, 2008

Posted by Austin Baker in employee benefits.
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As health care costs continue to rise, it’s more important than ever that your employees understand and appreciate the benefits you provide for them. Along with increasing health insurance costs comes increasing competition for quality employees, and you want to attract and retain the best. In fact, the average turnover rate of top-performing employees is 17 percent at companies that offer rich benefits programs but poorly communicate them to workers, as opposed to 12 percent at businesses with less comprehensive programs but better communication strategies.
A sound benefits package is a plus but only if employees know and understand what you make available to them. A quality voluntary benefits partner can help by providing professional, consistent communications throughout the entire enrollment process. As a result, employees will not only understand their benefits but also appreciate them.
Effective benefits communications has two integral phases: before the enrollment and during the enrollment. For each phase, your voluntary benefits partner should be able to deliver a wide range of services and capabilities.

Pre-Enrollment Communications
Custom Communications. A quality voluntary benefits provider can provide enrollment communications such as letters, fliers, PowerPoint presentations, brochures, e-mails, posters, tent cards — whatever works best to help employees learn the about the upcoming enrollment and the key details of the benefits offerings.
Group Meetings. To help provide background on the overall benefits program, highlight any major changes in the program and introduce any new offerings, the enrollment process should begin with a group employee meeting that covers key highlights of the benefits program.

Enrollment Communications Through One-on-One Sessions With a Benefits Professional
Advances in enrollment technology have made enrollments simpler and easier to administer; however, nothing can replace the value of having a trained benefits professional meet with employees individually to review and enroll their benefits. Two-way communications between a benefits professional and an employee is critical for effective benefits communications.
Using the latest enrollment technology, a benefits professional can help employees consider their personal benefits situation and see the impact of their benefits selections on their paycheck. Communication services can include:
• Helping employees verify and update basic employee data.
• Highlighting each employee’s existing benefits, pointing out what the employee contributes and what the employer contributes.
• Reviewing the employee’s benefits selections and how each affects the paycheck so the employee can see exactly what the deductions will be and, if pretaxing, what the savings can be.
• Showing the employee his or her entire benefits package, including paid time off, uniform costs or any specific benefits you want to highlight. Again, the employee can see his or her own contributions to the benefits package, as well as what you contribute.
• Providing a detailed listing of the employee’s selections and contributions as one last verification of plan information and premiums.

So what’s the advantage of effective benefits communication? You’ll save costs, time and energy — plus, you’ll gain greater employee satisfaction through personal, quality benefits communication.

1 2005 Watson Wyatt Worldwide WorkUSA® study on effective employee-driven financial results