Engaging with Benefits
Updated: May 9, 2019
Are you in open enrollment season or planning for 2019?
If one of your organization’s business goals for the New Year is to improve employee engagement, don’t forget that you can tie engagement to benefits and see a marked improvement. Typically, the benefit enrollment process is far from engaging. Employees often walk away feeling frustrated with higher annual premiums, less coverage, and, yes, too many options to make sense of what’s really the best bet for themselves and their families.
The thing is, benefits can be engaging…if the organization spends a bit more time educating employees on benefits options and making the process more meaningful.
Organizations make choices about benefits offerings based on pricing, need, and availability. But how often are they determining selection based on employee preference? If we don’t take preference into account and just lay out a long list of options that may work…well, that becomes the opposite of engagement. It lacks personal interest.
If there’s nothing that fits, why sign up? Oh yes, because we’re forced to make some sort of selection….and by the way, that is not the way to improve engagement.
HR can help direct the benefits selection and administration through the use of employee surveys and regular conversations/training/website updates. The key here is to understand what your employees need and what’s important to them. If they’ve got some input – more like a personal voice in the mix of benefits administration – they will be more directly involved in the process and therefore, more engaged.
Talk to your employees. Find out what’s important to them and allow them to be part of the decision making process.
Choosing from the Menu
From gym memberships to weight loss programs, having the ability to go “à la carte” and choose based on preference can be a great way to help employees feel empowered in making benefits selections.
Tailoring benefit election to specific needs or wants makes the selection process more meaningful and can get employees excited about choosing meaningful coverage.
The most common benefit packages include things like health and dental insurance, life and disability insurance…but how about egg freezing, extended parental leave, or pet care? Many organizations now offer a wide variety of options that appeal to employees, giving them the flexibility to choose what works for them. Don’t box them into something that just doesn’t make sense.
Choice=Reason to Join…Reason to Stay
In the technology field, gender bias is still very much at play, and this places a burden on those women trying to blend career and family. There is a strong need for women in technology, but there are a large number of women who feel they can’t continue a career in this industry and have a family at the same time.
In fact, the Center for Talent Innovation, a global think tank, found that “32 percent of female SET (science, engineering and technology) employees in the U.S., 22 percent in Brazil, 30 percent in China and 20 percent in India were considering leaving their fields within a year, according to the report. Among SET senior leaders, 31 percent of women in the U.S., 22 percent in Brazil, 51 percent in China and 57 percent in India reported that a woman would never get a top position at their company, no matter how capable or high-performing.”
Unfortunately, this is the reality at some organizations.
Not sure what to offer, but still want to create incentive for joining your organization?
There are plenty of ways for companies to create and offer interesting choices and incentives. Everything from monthly on-site massages to flexible work options can help companies stand out among potential candidates, while also keeping employees engaged through the entire life cycle.
When we have choices, we often perceive this as an incentive to become more engaged in what we’re working on…whether that’s a team project, reporting deadlines or yes, choosing benefits coverage. Having the right mix of plans and options that reflect employee needs goes a long way to increasing retention and creating loyalty.
Engage your employees by allowing them to add their voice by choosing what works for them.