With healthcare making headlines as politicians debate what to do about the Affordable Care Act, it may come as no surprise that the number-one employee benefit your employees want is health insurance.
Top Benefit Your Employees Want
Indeed, 87 percent of employees surveyed in a study by the Employee Benefits Research Institute say employment-based health insurance is either very or extremely important when they are debating whether to take a new job or stay in their current position.
Offering employee benefits is critical to job satisfaction and worker morale. According to the study, almost six in 10 workers (59 percent) who are extremely satisfied with their benefits are also extremely satisfied with their jobs. And if your small business hopes to compete with bigger companies in attracting and retaining workers, benefits are a big part of the package.
Not only do employees appreciate the benefits they receive, but they also like not having to do the legwork to find and purchase benefits on their own. Just 20 percent of employees in the survey would rather get money from their employer to purchase their own benefits.
But offering benefits can be expensive. For example, a whopping 92 percent of employers in the EBRI survey say they pay all or part of the premiums for their employees’ health insurance.
One way to get your money’s worth when it comes to benefits is to make sure your employees truly understand the value of the benefits your business offers. Here are four things you can do to ensure your employees appreciate what they’re getting.
Provide Benefits Education and Assistance
Handing your employees folders about their benefits choices and leaving them on their own to figure it out won’t cut it anymore. Nearly one-third of employees in the survey say they don’t fully understand their benefits or don’t feel qualified to make informed decisions about them. Start by having someone from the benefits provider explain all the options to your staff in person. Also ask what type of one-on-one or online assistance is available to employees going forward. Nearly six in 10 employees in the survey say they would like to be able to get benefits advice, either online or through a third-party advisor.
Make It Simple To Sign Up
Employees are more likely to choose benefits coverage when it’s easy to sign up. More than half of employees in the survey say they would prefer to enroll in benefits online, not by filling out paper forms.
Don’t Be Shy
You might be going out of your way to provide employees with a benefits plan that offers lots of choices, or to contribute some or all of their premium costs. Your employees may think that’s just standard behavior. Toot your own horn and let your team know what elements of your plan are outstanding. Here are some things employees care about that you can emphasize:
- Do you offer your employees a choice of health plans? Eighty percent of employees in the survey say that’s important.
- Do you provide voluntary benefits, such as life insurance or disability insurance? More than 80 percent of employees surveyed consider that a huge plus.
- Are any of your benefits portable (such as retirement plans)? Employees appreciate that, too.
- Do your benefits save employees time and money? For example, paying healthcare premiums with pretax dollars through payroll deductions is less costly for employees than buying them in the open market. If voluntary benefits are offered at a discount, make sure employees know they’re getting a deal.
Keeping benefits costs steady without sacrificing coverage is difficult (just ask my business partner, who dreads renewing our health insurance every October). If you have to make changes to keep costs down — or if you have to ask employees to pay a larger share of the premium to maintain the same level of coverage — explain that to your team. Employees know costs are rising (43 percent are concerned their benefits package will get worse in the next few years) and they’ll appreciate that you’re trying to maintain quality coverage for them.
Employee Benefits Photo via Shutterstock