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Who Are You Talking To?

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You probably know a lot about your employees. The size of your workforce, their demographics, education level, experience and skills, even some of their favorite gripes or things they love about working at your company.

But how well do you know their preferences for benefits and communications? What are their biggest concerns about their financial future? What are the differences in priorities and opinions between generations? Are you able to see benefits through your employees’ eyes?

According to MetLife’s recent  10th Annual Study of Benefits Trends, the answer for many employers is “no.” The study goes on to say that “…employers significantly undervalue the power of non-medical benefits such as life, dental, disability and vision coverages to help satisfy and retain workers.”

Employee sensing and communications are two ways employers can get a more accurate and in-depth understanding of “who they are talking to” about benefits.

Go to the Source

Don’t guess. Go directly to your employees to better understand their benefit priorities and opinions, their level of understanding and how they want to learn about benefits. You can do this through focus groups, surveys (all or a sampling of employees), questionnaire at an employee meeting, employee benefit or communication committee—or tap into existing forums. Establish a baseline of understanding, and then check for changes on a regular basis.

Talk their Language

It may seem simple to do, but not in the wild world of benefits. Keep it simple, avoid jargon, make it actionable, use visuals and graphics, offer it 24-7, make it personal, brand it and make it engaging. And, by the way, have everyone and their brother review the communications, get legal sign-off and ensure it’s compliant. Not easy to do. But knowing your workforce and their communication preferences can help a lot. Pull together a coherent, thoughtful communication strategy and stick to it.

It’s Worth It

At least according to more than half the employers surveyed by MetLife in the Benefits Trends Study. According to the study, 60% of surveyed employers recognize the precarious economic climate…actually creates opportunity for benefits to drive human capital objectives.” And the better employees understand and appreciate their benefits, the more satisfied they will be with their job and the company.