Why do so few employees understand their benefits?

Business casual workers in groups of 2 or 3 working near a large window. They're huddled around high-top tables.

Nearly 40% of working professionals say they don’t fully understand their benefits. And only 14% said that they could explain the differences between co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums.

Why do so few employees actually understand their benefits?

Your Communications Are Confusing

There’s a good chance that your benefits communications and plan documentation is hard to understand. When possible, use simple language to explain benefits and enrollment info.

Create summary documents that highlight the top 3 or 4 features of a particular benefit. Make it the first piece of collateral employees see during enrollment.

Finally, when you host info sessions closer to open enrollment, keep things simple. Don’t overwhelm employees with options all at once.

Your Messaging is Impersonal

Regardless of your company’s size, there are different personalities working there. From younger employees who are just beginning their career to those ready for retirement.

Your benefits communication should be personalized. A single brochure or piece of collateral will be impossible to communicate all of the benefits to every employee.

Create custom communication plans for each of your employee personas. This makes sure every employee is able to find the information they need when it matters most.

You’re Not Communicating Enough

Most employers only communicate with their employees around open enrollment. Sometimes they’ll send an email when they’re making changes to an existing benefit.

Only reminding your employees about their benefits once a year can directly affect your adoption rates. It leaves employees in the dark and not understanding their benefits.

Start communicating more frequently not just about the existence of a benefit, but also how to utilize all of its features!

Aim to communicate about benefits at least once per quarter. Then, benchmark your results so that you can continually revisit the ROI.

Your Tools are Difficult to Find

To help employees get the most out of their benefits, try moving some of your tools and resources to an employer intranet or by utilizing online wellness platforms to give employees access to materials whenever they need them.

When information is only available during in-person sessions with your HR team or communications are only physical handouts or posters, it’s easy for employees to forget or lose track of their next steps. With online tools, you can send communications that direct employees straight to the tools and resources they need.

In addition to selecting the benefits most beneficial to your organization, employers should go the extra mile to not only rollout the benefits, but also find ways to both continually engage and communicate with employees to help them better understand how to utilize what’s available to them.

If you haven’t already, try surveying your organization to see if employees fully understand the benefits you’re offering.


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