12/09/2019 Boost your Employer Brand with Voluntary Benefits and Improved Communication

Mat A. Matarrese, National Vice President of Sales Combined Worksite Solutions

Boost your Employer Brand with Voluntary Benefits and Improved Communication

Boost your employer brand with these strategies from our National Vice President of Sales Combined Worksite Solutions, Mat Matarrese

In this tight labor market, businesses need to go the extra mile to attract the best talent. The unemployment rate in October 2019 was at 3.6%, below the 60 year average of 5.74%1.  Strategies companies are using to stay competitive include offering more flexibility, bumping salaries, improving their corporate cultures and improving overall benefits packages as well as changing how benefits are communicated to employees.

Two easy, fast and effective ways to improve your employer brand are to clearly market and communicate the benefits you provide and to provide additional, personalized voluntary  benefit packages.

Showcase benefits with total reward statements

Do your employees really know what their total compensation is worth?  Total compensation- aka hidden paychecks- simply means the total of the employees’ salaries plus the cost of the benefits you provide to them. 

53% of top-performing companies provide this information to their employees2, because it improves employee gratitude.  

Not sure what to include?  Here are some ideas-

  • Vacation days and other paid leave
  • Bonuses
  • Workers’ comp, social security and Medicare
  • Subsidized health insurance premiums
  • Stock options
  • Gym memberships
  • Onsite child care
  • Company discount programs
  • Employer contributions to retirement savings
  • Tuition assistance

Develop an individual report for each employee, and share it with them as a way to make sure they know they’re valued.

Ask questions

Consider surveying your employees to see how they feel about their benefits.  Not only will your employees appreciate the opportunity to weigh-in on their benefits strategy, but they’ll see that you care! Plus, your results will help match your benefits plans and options with their needs. It will also help you provide the tools and resources they require to engage with their benefits, from making selections to using their plans. Asking for their feedback on a semi-annual or annual basis will keep the lines of communication open and encourage ongoing improvement in your efforts.

Provide ongoing education and decision support

If your employees understand their various benefit options and know how to make the right plan and program elections, they can make confident decisions that work for their families and budgets. And if they’re making informed choices, you can bet that they see the value in their coverage. That’s a big boost to benefits perception!

It’s essential to provide your employees with all the details they need about the products that are available to them, from what’s covered to the cost-sharing structure. For instance, if they assume a product or line of coverage is going to cost too much, they may decline participation and miss out on important protection that leaves them exposed to too much risk.

Work with your benefits partners to make sure you and your employees have access to the latest-and-greatest education and support tools, from brochures to online assessments and calculators. You may even get content that’s targeted for employees in various life stages, making it easier for your company’s benefit team to provide personalized recommendations to employees.

Communicate effectively

When communicating with today’s employees, you’ve got to meet them where they’re at. That means delivering messages in formats and over channels that they use and have come to expect. Email, for example, may have already replaced the paper employee newsletter. Managers may instant message employees throughout the day instead of walking over or picking up the phone. Your workforce may watch videos over the web and are developing a preference for highly visual content they can view in smaller bursts.

Mirror these preferences so that benefits messages reach and connect with your employees—and can even be shared with their family decision makers. Think of the traditional benefits handbook: do employees keep this in their drawer or do they access the electronic version when they have a question? How do your employees want to engage with benefits information?

And communicating with them on an ongoing basis—not just leading up to open enrollment season—keeps their valuable benefits top of mind throughout the year. This approach can build their satisfaction with your benefit programs because it gives them opportunities to learn about their benefits outside of the “crunch” of benefit enrollment time, when they might actually use their benefits or have a real-world coverage question.

Offering voluntary benefits

According to the Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM's) 2018 Employee Benefits survey, 34% of surveyed companies increased benefit offerings in the 12 months prior to the survey, and those increases remained steady in 2018.3,4  Adding voluntary benefits is a great way to improve employees’ peace of mind, and it typically does not cost the employer anything. 

Supplemental insurance to consider offering in your voluntary benefits includes:

  • Income protection
  • Accident and disability
  • Life
  • Critical illness

There’s no right or wrong time to introduce new supplemental insurance options to your workforce.  Every season poses new possibilities of injury and added medical expenses:

Winter

  • Slip and falls outside or inside on icy/wet areas
  • Snowmobiling or sledding
  • Increased risk of auto accidents
  • Clearing roof or adjusting satellite dish

Spring

  • New sports and fitness attempts after cold down time
  • Rain storms and road conditions
  • Spring breaks (literally)

Summer

  • Outdoor activities
  • Camping
  • Biking
  • Sports (adult leagues are huge injury pools)
  • Increased travel on vacations

Fall

  • School sports
  • Decrease in daylight 
  • Increase in holiday travel

In this tight labor market, making sure your employees know what their benefits are worth and offering them supplemental insurance to help offset rising medical expenses are two relatively easy ways to improve your employer brand.  To see how Combined Worksite solutions can help, contact us today!

References
1 ManpowerGroup. (n.d.). Solving the Talent Shortage in the United States. Retrieved from 
manpowergroup.us/campaigns/talent-shortage/
2 Use Total Compensation Statements For Engagement.” Use Total Compensation Statements For Engagement
paycor.com/resource-center/how-to-drive-employee-engagement-with-total-compensation-statements.
3 Miller, S. (2018, June 22). Employers Beef Up Benefits to Keep Talent. Retrieved from 
shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/employers-beef-up-benefits-2018.aspx

4-Miller, S. (2019, August 16). 6 Big Benefits Trends for 2019. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/big-benefit-trends-2019.aspx.

 

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