Posted April 30, 2021
Knowing your client’s business and understanding their needs are two critical steps for producers to succeed. Many issues weigh heavy on the minds of business leaders in every industry. Attracting and retaining talented employees are at the top of the list. Employees today want benefits that support their well-being needs. However, most workers don’t understand their benefit choices. They want employers to educate them about their options and make the right choices. Often employers do not have the time. But producers can help. Consider six ways producers can enhance benefits communication.
Most employees use only certain features in their benefits plans. For some, it’s coverage for urgent care and catastrophic injuries. For others, it’s preventive care, such as health screenings and dental exams and professional cleanings. That means there are many options that employees don’t use, and they may not be aware the coverage is available.
Review how employees currently use their insurance benefits. Create charts showing coverage preferences and features rarely used. Discuss these trends with your client to gather insights. They may have received feedback from employees in meetings, emails or surveys about the plan features. Ask them to prioritize three to five plan features that employees value and need to understand better. Then incorporate this information into their benefits communications.
Ask for feedback
Employees want benefits that fit their needs. So, it’s important to ask them for feedback to understand the issues and problems they are facing. This information will help you know the plans to include in benefits packages. A recent Wills Towers Watson survey found that 50% of employees surveyed rated better pay or bonuses as first on their wish list. However, 67% said they would sacrifice pay for richer retirement benefits, and 42% would give up pay for better health coverage. This same survey showed that most employees want a moderate mix of benefits options.
Work with your client to conduct confidential employee surveys to understand the problems and issues they face. Work with a trusted benefits provider to prepare the questions and analyze the responses.
Identify message topics
Develop a list of benefits communication topics. Review insurance benefits plans for ideas. Include information about plan features that employees find confusing and difficult to understand. Make sure to list topics that help educate employees about preventive care. Surveys show that employees don’t use preventive screenings because they think they are expensive and not beneficial. Add topics from the utilization tracking study and employee survey feedback.
Create messages with charts and statistics that help explain insurance terms and the information in ways employees will understand. Show the differences between plan features and coverage levels. Remember that 93% of employees choose the same coverage they had the year before at benefits enrollment time. It’s because they don’t understand the differences between plan options or how plan costs can change based on the coverage chosen.
Make a plan
Develop an annual benefits communication strategy with a checklist of the key messages to share with employees each month. Focus on providing information important for different age groups of employees. Use different information formats, such as digital, email, social media, texts, videos and in-person meetings.
Work with your client to coordinate the plan to ensure employees receive new messages as scheduled. Make sure the messages are short and simple. This helps keep the descriptions interesting and easy for employees to understand.
As a producer, you have valuable benefits information to help your client and their employees. Work with insurance carriers to provide details about plan designs, coverage options and cost savings. Ask the carrier for advice and information to share with employees to help them choose the right plan.
Counsel and educate
Many employees dread reviewing and enrolling in benefits plans. If they have questions about coverage options, they don’t know who to contact to discuss their choices. Host online and in-person benefits meetings where employees can ask questions and discuss benefits plan choices and coverage choices. When talking with employees, share examples of ways employees use their plans to stay healthy throughout the year. These stories provide examples of how benefits can make a difference in improving workers’ health outcomes. Encourage employees to set up appointments to discuss questions and concerns about their benefits throughout the year.