Improve Employee Wellness with Effective Benefits Communication

Despite dramatic advancements in technology and a new generation joining the workforce, benefits communication is not adapting. Methods of benefits communication from years past are no longer working for the much more modern and tech-savvy millennials. Benefits need to support employees’ mental, physical, and fiscal wellness. Most employees want benefits that improve their life now. They do not want a benefits package that only kicks in should they fall ill.

Focus on Prevention, Not a Cure

Employees would much rather their benefits help them avoid problems rather than address them after they occur. For instance, excessive stress can cause a strain on mental health. Employees would much rather have a wellness program to help reduce stress and prevent anxiety-induced illnesses than see a professional to help them recover after the fact. While employers still need to offer traditional health benefits, their approach to wellness needs to change. Shifting the focus from treatment to prevention is vital to improving employees’ wellbeing and job satisfaction.

Benefits Communication Equally Important as Design

Offering a comprehensive and appealing benefits package that focuses on employees’ wellbeing is only half of the equation. Most employees do not understand their benefits. Many are unaware what is available to them as well. If employees do not realize what their employer is offering, they will not take advantage of it or appreciate it.

There is immense value in continuous benefits communication and leveraging technology to do so. Employers should disperse information in a timely manner so that it is relevant. Waiting until right before open enrollment overloads employees with too much information. Offering benefits information and wellness tools through an online portal simplifies the process for employees. It keeps all of the important information in one location so employees do not need to search through multiple channels. Fewer obstacles help improve engagement. To learn more about effective benefits communication strategies, contact Chelten Consulting.

Dental Benefits Still Key to Competitive Hiring Practices

Many employers are struggling to remain competitive when hiring new employees. Many are adjusting salaries to contend with rival companies, offering modern benefits such as pet insurance, and focusing on employee wellness to stay ahead. However, some benefits will always appeal to prospective and current employees. Affordable health insurance will always top the list of necessary benefits, but dental is another benefit with broad appeal.

Why is Dental Insurance Important?

Almost all employees feel dental insurance is necessary regardless of age. While many companies are trying to balance benefits to suit the needs of multiple age groups, dental insurance is a benefit that bridges generational divides. This has big implications for all businesses, small businesses included.

In fact, small businesses stand the most to gain by adding dental insurance to their benefits package. Many employers erroneously assume that younger employees do not value dental insurance as much as older employees, but this is not the case. Many small businesses with less than 10 employees neglect dental, and it may cost them talented candidates if their competitors provide it.

Below are additional reasons employers should consider adding dental coverage to their benefits package.

  • Preventative care improves morale and reduces absences related to preventable conditions.
  • Employees want nicer looking teeth. Employees appreciate dental plans that include whitening, orthodontia, and other dental procedures.
  • Dental insurance can contribute to employee wellness programs. Employee wellness programs help employees maintain good health; this can include good oral health as well.

Employers should reevaluate their benefits package from time to time to ensure it meets employees’ expectations. If a company’s benefit offerings are lacking or falling behind the competition, they may start to experience retention and hiring problems. To learn more about using benefits as part of an effective hiring strategy, contact Chelten Consulting.

Atypical Benefits for a Competitive Edge

There are standard benefits most employers offer: healthcare, dental, vision, and retirement planning options. In fact, retirement and healthcare benefits contribute overwhelmingly to employee loyalty. However, these benefits are expected. It is the unconventional, and therefore infrequently offered, benefits that make a company stand out from its competition. Below are some benefits many employers overlook, but employees value.

Continuing Education

Investing in employees’ continued education is a mutual benefit. Further developing an employee’s skill set can help the company grow. Businesses of all sizes can offer continuing education benefits. Large corporations can offer full-tuition coverage for eligible degrees through pre-determined universities. These companies usually require that the employee earn a minimum GPA to qualify for tuition coverage. Small businesses may not be able to afford tuition coverage, but they can offer their employees flextime. This will allow the employee to attend classes and perform their job at times that better suit their schedule.

Volunteer Benefits

With more and more millennials joining the workforce, companies are starting to invest in benefit options that appeal to this generation. For example, millennials have a well-developed social consciousness and often volunteer to make a difference in their community. Offering time off for volunteering purposes can give businesses an edge over other companies that do not.

Commuter Benefits

Commuting to and from work is a hidden expense for many employees. Gas, parking passes, and wear and tear on personal vehicles add up over time. Individuals that take public transportation do not have it much better as they have to pay a bus, cab, or metro fare as well. These expenses add up quickly, which is why employees always appreciate when their company provides commuter benefits.

As the job market continues to grow in competitiveness, employers need to distinguish themselves from their competition. Offering these progressive benefits can improve employee retention and entice new talent. Contact Chelten Consulting for more benefits strategies to improve your competitive hiring practices.

Four Critical Strategies in Combating Rising Benefits Costs

employee benefits graphicEmployers are facing ever-increasing challenges in controlling costs while attempting to offer competitive benefits. A recent study indicates that healthcare costs will continue to grow faster than inflation at a rate of over 4%.

While there’s no silver bullet in combating rising healthcare costs, there are a variety of factors that can be identified. Knowing what’s driving up your healthcare costs can help in finding ways to control these costs without gutting your benefits offerings. These include the rising costs of procedures, especially among specialists, the increasing cost and quantity of prescription medications being dispensed, the advent of newer and more refined technological aids, patient inclination to seek out rapid care, and more. But what can we accomplish with this information?

Understanding where these excess costs are coming from will allow you and your benefits advisers to identify specific coverages or elements of a plan that can be reduced or eliminated. Often the amount you save will be significant enough that some of that money can go back into the benefits system for other, less costly services. It’s certainly a strategy of balance, and of finding ways to make your dollars go as far as they can for the company and those who work within it. Four of the key benefits choices to control costs include:

1. Level-funding company healthcare costs.
2. Provide a proactive wellness initiative.
3. Use a flexible contribution arrangement (FSA).
4. Use deductible exposure mitigation vehicles (HRAs).

Does your executive team and/or HR department understand these strategies and what they offer your organization? Are you aware of which ones you’re already using? Do you know which aspects of your benefits program prove least and most effective in terms of dollars spent? These are critical questions that should be asked and answered frequently. To learn more about benefits challenges and strategies to combat them, contact Chelten Consulting Group.

Unconventional Benefits to Reduce Turnover Rate

As the economy recovers and improves, the unemployment rate continues to decline. This means potential employees are being more judicious when it comes to accepting job offers. A competitive salary is no longer enough to attract and retain talent. Employers need to revamp their benefits package if they want to maintain their workforce.

The Cost of Employee Turnover

Losing an employee is more than reduced personnel. The loss affects morale and overall productivity as well—both of which can cut into the company’s profits. Reports show that employee turnover costs the company slightly more than 1/5 of that employee’s annual salary. This includes a loss in efficiency plus the time and cost of hiring and training a new employee.

For an employee making $100,000, this equates to slightly more than a $20,000 loss. That is enough to bring start-ups to the verge of collapse and hinder small to mid-size businesses. Large corporations with employees earning significant salaries face an even bigger financial loss. While they are often robust enough to withstand the financial setback, too many turnovers can become a liability.

Innovative Benefits to Attract and Retain Employees

The obvious solution is to prevent employee turnover whenever possible. However, this can be a difficult task to achieve. One way to put your business above the competition is with a healthy benefits package featuring unique options. An example that is rising in popularity is pet insurance. This may seem like a frivolous expense but consider the facts. About 65 percent of households own a pet. These pets get sick just like humans, except the owner must pay their pet’s medical bills out of pocket. Pet insurance helps pay for these medical bills including preventative care.

Offering unconventional benefits can give your company a competitive edge over those that do not. Optional packages like pet insurance may seem odd, but they are gaining ground in the workplace. One investigative report found that 68 percent of surveyed employers offered pet insurance. Employees are comparing benefits packages, so now is the time to distinguish your benefits from the competition. To learn more about incorporating benefits into your hiring strategy, contact the experts at Chelten Consulting.

Best Practices for Successful Benefits Communication

When it comes to benefits, engaging employees is not a simple task. Adjusting benefits communication methods to address employees’ needs is a great place to start. Some benefits are universal, such as health care, but even that gets tricky. The types of coverage one employee desires can vary drastically from another employee. Fine-tuning your benefits package to tailor it to your employees’ needs is great, but effective communication drives successful employee interaction. Below are some of the best practices when it comes to clear and effective benefits communications.

Fun-Size Benefits Communication

A sure-fire way to guarantee your employees will not understand or use their benefits is to provide benefits information once a year. Mailing a booklet, emailing PDFs, and other cumbersome forms of benefits communication will fail every time. It overwhelms employees and they give up before they even begin. Instead, create year-round opportunities for employees to learn more and engage with their benefits. An online platform to manage benefits can also help. This allows employees to reference information as they need to rather than trying to sift through pages upon pages of materials.

Adapt to a Distributed Workforce

More and more employees are working from home. Some work from home a couple of days per week while other telecommute exclusively. This trend is on the rise, so employers cannot afford to exclude these individuals from their benefits communication efforts. For example, many employers hold in-office benefits seminars, but this does nothing for the employees who do not work in the office. If you have an online platform to manage health benefits, this is an excellent way to involve these employees.

Making Benefits Relevant

In the past, many organizations used a one-size fits all approach to benefits. The problem with this method is not all employees need or want the same things. Personalized benefits would be ideal, but this is too time-consuming for human resource managers to do alone. Harnessing technology can help employees find the benefits that are most relevant to them.

Even if your company offers the best benefits it can all go to waste without effective information dissemination. To ensure your organization is using the most effective methods of benefits communication, contact us.

Three Elements of an Attractive Benefits Package

Finding and retaining talent can be difficult in today’s competitive job market. Having an attractive benefits package is a major component to hiring quality candidates and reducing employee turnover rates. But what makes for a quality benefits package? New research shows offering high-value benefits, investing in benefits awareness, and focusing on solutions for the future are vital to a healthy benefits package.

High-Value Benefits

Benefits considered to have high value by employees are healthcare, retirement, and leave benefits. Some employees consider this combination of benefits to be of equal importance to their job’s salary. While this may seem odd, there is a good reason for it. Many companies are not in a position to offer substantive annual raises. If prospective employees know they can only anticipate a 1-1.5% annual salary increase, compensation loses some of its appeal. This is because a 1% raise will not have much of an effect on the employee’s day-to-day life while their benefits can. While businesses must remain competitive with their salaries, they should also ensure they offer attractive options for these high-value benefits.

Invest in Benefits Awareness

Many employees do not understand their benefits. If they do not realize the worth of their benefits, they will not view them as valuable. Human Resource professionals should make it their mission to educate employees on why their benefits matter. While many employees understand the worth of health insurance package, they may be unclear on other benefits such as flexible work options or comprehensive wellness plans.

Planning for the Future

For 2017, businesses should focus on tailoring their benefits packages to their particular workforce. What is appealing to a major tech company may not make sense for an import/export business. Some benefits are evergreen and should always be a part of your business’ overall benefits package. These include healthcare, retirement planning, flexible work, and paid leave. Include unique and voluntary benefits such as student loan repayment plans, pet insurance, or critical/long-term care. Businesses should learn what is important to their workforce, and modify their benefits package to meet employees’ needs.

To learn more about benefits solutions, contact Chelten Consulting.

Gain a Competitive Edge with Student Loan Benefits

student-debtStandard benefits will always withstand the test of time. This is because they meet universal needs such as health care and retirement planning. However, as more millennials join the workforce employers will need to adapt to maintain their competitive edge.

Millennials recognize the advantage of standard benefits, but they face unique challenges previous generations did not. Namely, they have a substantial amount of student loan debt. Not only that, but paying off their loans will take them more than a decade. Companies can improve their millennial recruitment and retention rates by offering student loan benefits.

It is becoming more and more common for employees to change jobs at frequent intervals. This puts employers in a difficult situation. It is frustrating to recruit and train employees just to lose them to another company down the line. Student loan benefits can help reduce this job-hopping trend and allow you to retain talent for longer.

How it Works

Imagine an employer offers $150 per month toward student loans. This is not a significant sum for an organization, but over the course of several years that employee could save thousands in loans and accrued interest. This benefit has the added bonus of high employee interaction. While it can be difficult to get employees to engage in benefits communication, millennials will bite at the chance for help paying down their student loan debt.

Companies should use their benefits to stay competitive. Adding student loan benefits to your model can help recruit and retain talent for multiple years. This saves your company money as you will not have to deal with labor gaps, time spent searching for new talent, and training new employees. Contact Chelten Consulting to learn more about fresh approaches to benefits solutions and refining your hiring practices.

Top 5 Blog Articles on HR Benefits Strategies

shutterstock_136833263Most HR departments spend a considerable quantity of resources on designing, implementing, and maintaining their benefits strategies. And with new laws, technologies, and wellness priorities around every corner, it can prove quite challenging to find solutions that work for everybody. Fortunately for you, this is one of our favorite blogging topics! Here are our top 5 blog articles on benefits challenges, strategies, and solutions for HR departments:

Popular Benefits Consulting Blog Posts

shutterstock_251707783 smEmployee benefits have become one of the most important aspects of total compensation for attracting new talent to your organization. Beyond this, maintaining your competitive edge in the benefits arena will help you to retain the talent you’ve already found. Further, the costs associated with employee benefits can dramatically impact the bottom line of almost any business. Are you using HRAs, HSAs, FSAs, GAP plans, Return of Premium plans? Are you PPACA compliant? How do your employees perceive the cost and value structure of your offerings? To learn more about how to tackle these key issues, read some of our most popular blog posts:

For more on these and other important benefits topics, contact us.