What do you think when you hear the term “employee engagement”? As a broker, you likely start thinking of your clients’ needs to ensure employees are aware and engaged with their benefits plan. A more traditional use of the term may refer to employee commitment levels toward the company purpose and vision. Both are accurate, and the two points are definitely connected.
Quantum Workplace (the research firm behind the "Best Places to Work" programs in more than 40 metro areas) identifies several key factors of companies with higher engagement levels. One of them is:
Because successful implementation doesn’t come from simply providing the benefits, I’m sharing 3 tips from HR managers who’ve had successful employee engagement with non-insurance services.
1. Communication is Key
When I was an HR Director, making sure my employees understood and used their benefits was my holy grail. If they didn’t use the ones we paid for, I wondered…
- Do they understand the benefits?
- Do they care?
- Is it just too much information?
If open enrollment is the primary time employees hear about their benefits, any of the above could be an issue. It isn’t enough to present the information once a year. It’s important to talk about it, talk about it, and finally, talk about it!
Including a personal story during employee onboarding is a memorable way to share the positive impact of specific benefits. This strategy should be used not only by HR, but everyone in a management position. For example, train managers to ask employees who call in sick if they’ve used their telehealth service. It’s a quick and easy way to remind them of the benefit while showing genuine concern. Suggest something as simple as, “Have you called the telehealth doctor yet? Please do so. Remember, it doesn’t cost you anything. I used it last time I was sick and they helped me feel better much faster.”
If an employee is dealing with a family member’s illness, remind managers to suggest an Advocacy or Doctors Onlineservice to get help with second opinions or other advice. HR staff are the biggest influencers for Advocacy services. HR so often takes the brunt of complaints and questions as employees try to use their benefits and get confused or frustrated with the complexities and costs of the system. Instead of trying to solve all of them, Calli Corley, HR Director of The Delta Companies explains, “Advocacy saves me a lot of time – I no longer have employees bring me a stack of EOBs to look over and tell them what to pay!”
Throughout the year at various staff meetings, invite top executives or other champions to talk about their experiences with various services. Employees will both connect to and remember the stories which drives awareness, appreciation and utilization.
2. Know Your Audience
Part of any great communication plan is knowing your audience. Consider who will be in various meetings. For example, if you have a primarily Spanish-speaking workforce, make sure you utilize your resources in Spanish and provide a translator in your meetings.
One area commonly overlooked is generational preferences. Different ages prefer varying methods of activities for both registration and use of services. Prepare your presentation accordingly. Multiple options such as phone, website, or app will provide familiar and easy-to-use choices for everyone.
All generations appreciate honesty and personalization. Many top-performing companies provide an annual (or quarterly) Total Compensation Statement to each employee showing their benefits and compensation totals. Make it easy to see what the company and the employee each pay for. This helps with the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ aspect to benefits. Explaining these items with complete transparency is a win for everyone.
3. Include Custom Choices
The ability to customize some benefit selections is appreciated by employees and allows the employer to meet the needs of a diverse workforce. For example, one employee will highly value pet care benefits while another has no use for them at all. Identity theft protection, legal savings, auto and home discounts – each of these appeal to some and not to others.
MetLife’s 13th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study found that 40% of employees say having a wide selection of benefits would make them feel more loyal to their employer. Employees will definitely engage in benefits they’ve customized to meet their specific needs. Increasingly, the “cool” customized benefits are stronger differentiators for employers than the health plan.
Understanding a group’s needs, their usage of different products and how the solutions you offer deliver results – these all make you a valued consultant who’s really looking out for their best interests. Offering these engagement tips to stress the importance of using their non-insurance services ensures you remain the broker they want to come back to time and time again.
Now it’s your turn! What tips do you share with clients for successful employee engagement? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.