Employee benefits solutions engagement: Is your company reaping the rewards?
Offering employee benefits solutions isn’t just to support staff, it should also benefit your company. Having a global employee benefits strategy is simply lip service if you’re not reviewing how your benefits plan is performing. Engagement is one key measure that can tell you how healthy your package is. Are your staff aware of the benefits available to them, and are they using them?
Understanding engagement, why it’s important, and what your business should be looking for is the focus of this week’s article by Pacific Prime.
Why is employee benefits engagement important?
Considering the amount of money your company can spend on providing employee benefits solutions to your staff, it makes sense to monitor how they’re being used. One way of looking at insurance that many companies don’t realize is that they are actually paying for most staff benefits out-of-pocket, and benefits like group health insurance plans are purchased to provide additional coverage in the event of a significant cost being incurred.
Think about it this way; the premium you pay is like a “fund” of sorts that, every time your staff make a claim or use a benefit, your company’s premium is what foots the bill. For benefits providers, the amount of claims not taken up by staff is their profit. Having high claims (either volume or cost) can lead to an unattractive claims loss ratio for a provider; something that can see your group health insurance premiums rise exponentially.
Converse to this is a situation where the claims made total much less than the premium paid by your company. This means your company is effectively paying your provider too much money. It’s important to have a healthy and sustainable claims loss ratio, and having one too heavily in favour of provider profit can often indicate that staff engagement is an issue.
Where can poor engagement with employee benefits solutions come from?
In today’s increasingly competitive talent markets, employers offering employee benefits find that plan engagement is a common pain point. The benefits industry offers a range of flexible and diverse products and services that can have wide appeal or target niche groups. The challenge for businesses is ensuring not only that they include benefits that will be relevant to staff, but also that they properly educate them in what those benefits are.
Having the wrong types of benefits can often lead to poor engagement. A bunch of new grads working at a startup are probably not that likely to want or need maternity benefits so early in their careers. As well, offering gym memberships to an office of fairly sedentary people might seem aspirational, but can often fail if people just aren’t that interested in taking the offer up.
Another key factor for poorly engaged employee benefits plans is almost always a lack of communication. The less staff are educated on what benefits exist and how they can use them, the less likely they are to engage with them. Whilst your company might consider promoting some of its more expensive benefits less in order to keep costs and uptake down, not having an appropriate communication strategy can often set your benefits plan performance behind.
As a broker, Pacific Prime can often see where specific benefits aren’t being engaged with by viewing your claims data. Knowing what’s causing the lack of engagement requires a bit of discussion and investigation, but finding sustainable solutions is completely dependent on understanding whether the issue is the benefits themselves, or the communication of them to staff.
What can my company stand to lose from having unengaged employee benefits solutions?
If your employee benefits solutions aren’t communicated properly or they’re just simply not relevant to the people who work for you, your company might find itself affected in the following ways:
Study after study has shown that offering employee benefits can help with a worker’s morale, motivation, and performance in the workplace. People who are happy and healthy also work harder, increasing productivity. When you’ve got the right sorts of benefits that appeal to people and they know how to use them, your company should see an increase in total productivity.
Where you’re off the mark with the perks offered, or you simply haven’t communicated the benefits to people correctly, you’ll either see little-to-no change in productivity or, worse still, declining productivity. Businesses struggling to find improvement in their overall productivity might want to look at their employee benefits solutions for answers.
Absenteeism or presenteeism
Providing group health insurance is good way to reduce the amount of sick leave taken. When staff have the opportunity to be seen by healthcare professionals when they’re feeling ill, they’re more likely to be healthier overall. The result of being a company that doesn’t offer employee health benefits can manifest into presenteeism – where staff still show up to work despite being ill.
The costs of presenteeism can be much worse when sick staff are contagious. One sick person refusing to take a day off can snowball into three or four arriving ill to work. When things reach critical mass and it’s harder for people to recover from things like the flu or a cold, your company may find itself really short-staffed when large groups finally bite the bullet and pay out-of-pocket to see a doctor. If you offer health benefits but staff are still arriving sick, it might be because they don’t know their benefits cover doctor visits.
Job satisfaction levels are also highly linked to employee benefits solutions offered by companies. In fact, more than half of employees believe that health insurance is important in terms of their job satisfaction – which can be made all the more crucial if your staff live in a country where medical consultations and treatments are expensive.
Having the wrong types of benefits on offer can sometimes be just as bad as offering no benefits whatsoever. If you don’t communicate the employee benefits solutions you have on offer, your employees stand less of a chance of taking satisfaction from the perks they have access to.
How can my company measure our staff engagement levels with their benefits?
HR staff already know a number of ways of measuring how well certain workplace functions are performing. The following are some obvious and classic ways to understand what your employees know about their benefits, and whether or not they’re relevant to their lives, as well as some of the best ways to gauge engagement:
- General staff surveys: Send out a questionnaire that seeks to get answers on what benefits your staff know they have, and how they think they’ll use them.
- Pulse surveys: Ask short, frequent questions to staff about your benefits platform.
- Small focus groups: Bring a group of staff members together to have a frank discussion about the employee benefits solutions you offer.
- Exit surveys: Include questions about benefits and satisfaction levels during exit surveys, and further investigate what their next employer might be offering to have lured them away.
If you’re not regularly questioning how well your employee benefits plan is performing, you might be letting the platform decrease in usefulness – both to your employees and your company.
What can I do with my benefits engagement information?
Those companies that find that a change in their employee benefits solutions is needed can take a number of actions. The first is going directly to their benefits provider to negotiate a change in the package that better meets the needs of your staff. This can be a great approach if you have a good relationship with your insurer, and the changes are within the scope of their products.
If they don’t have quite what you need to change, you might find yourself better off engaging the services of a new provider. This can always be a bit tricky; you have to know which providers to approach out of a huge market of players, and you’ll need to be prepared to transfer your perks across once you settle on a new insurer.
The final and best option for businesses is to engage the services of an expert employee benefits broker – like Pacific Prime. We can use our market intelligence and industry knowledge to find the right solution to fix your engagement issues, regardless of whether it’s with your existing provider or a new one.
In addition, you’ll have the support of our Accounts Management teams to ensure a robust communication strategy is prepared so your employees can get educated and make the most out of your employee benefits platform. Our consultants can hold orientation sessions and provide ongoing member support to ensure that the benefits experience for your staff is a seamless one – and one that doesn’t drain your own HR’s resources!
Get in touch with employee benefits solutions specialist, Pacific Prime
Arrange a meeting with our expert consultants who will happily analyze the current performance of your plan, and show you key findings from your claims data that can support your future decision making. We’ll provide you with market insight around both your location and your industry, and work to ensure that the benefits solutions available to you come from reputable and world-class providers.
To talk to our consultants and arrange a meeting, contact the team at Pacific Prime today!