Posted August 31, 2021
The employee workforce is changing. Due to the pandemic, employees are worried and restless. They feel stuck and they’re looking for new career advancements. Employees say that one of the things that can get them to stay on the job is to provide benefits they value and fit their diverse needs. So if you’re designing your benefits to retain employees, avoid one-size-fits-all plans.
Recognize differences in benefit needs
Today’s workforce is comprised of several generations of employees working together. In the past, employers offered benefits featuring single or family coverage. These plans typically provided coverage for basic needs. However, as society changed and people were given choices in just about every area of their lives, they demanded tailored insurance benefits. Since employees now have more diverse needs, they expect employers to meet those needs by offering different types of benefits with different levels of coverage. That’s why the one-size-fits-all benefits packages no longer work. However, personalizing benefits to meet employees’ needs doesn’t have to be complicated.
Listen to understand benefit needs
Employees assume employers will provide medical benefits. In addition, many expect to have dental and vision coverage included in their benefits packages. There are many other benefits and perks workers want as well. But every group of employees will want different options.
Employers may struggle to know which plans to offer employees. Conducting an annual employee benefits survey is one way to know what’s on employees’ minds. In addition, set up listening sessions with employees to learn what they want. Use pulse surveys to keep up with workers’ changing benefit needs.
Design personalized benefits
Employees want to work for an employer who is interested in their needs. They want to know that their employer cares about their well-being. Discuss your workforce needs and issues with a broker and insurance sales representative you trust. Review current use of benefits and coverage options. Identify those that employees and dependents use most and which ones they rarely use.
Work with your broker and insurance representative to identify a mix of benefits that will support employees’ well-being. Include coverage level options to fit different budgets and family situations. Personalizing well-being benefits takes some time and effort, but it is well worth the effort in terms of employee satisfaction.
Engage through communication
A common concern of employees is that they don’t understand their benefits. Although they want benefit choices, they find the options confusing. Head off frustrations by providing communications that anticipate employees’ questions and address concerns. Research shows that good benefits communication can enhance employee engagement.
Personalize benefits information for each generational group of employees: boomers, generation X, millennials and generation Z. Explain benefits information using terms and a communication style that resonates with each audience. The goal is to connect with employees so they understand and use their benefits. For example, explain how preventive care can protect their health by identifying potential medical problems early.
Make benefits communication a priority. Talk about benefits throughout the year. Include examples of benefit features other employees value, explaining how they use them. Connect employees with brokers or insurance carriers to answer questions and explore benefit choices.
COVID-19 provided many valuable lessons. Employers identified the need for extensive plans to help them respond quickly to unexpected crises. Employees developed coping skills to adjust to working from remote locations, keeping connected virtually. And they both learned the importance of employee benefits.