Organizations that desire a strong workforce typically take the time to develop generous compensation packages, which include medical and dental insurance benefits. This is important in a labor market where talent is growing scarcer, especially in high-growth industries.
Keeping the workforce healthy (through regular check-ups and oral hygiene) is critical to every company. The problem? Many employees do not realize the value of the benefits they are being offered, and therefore, may not even use them.
The Importance of Educating Employees
The American Dental Association reports that only around 35.4 percent of working-age adults visited the dentist on a regular basis in recent years. The most common reasons that individuals cite for not participating in routine dental care include financial barriers, lack of quality dental care in some regions and anxiety about having dental procedures. If more companies take the time to educate staff about the value of their dental insurance benefits—and where to find a dentist who can care for them according to their needs—workers would have fewer reasons to defer regular care.
Open enrollment is an opportune time to promote dental insurance, engage with employees and get them excited about signing up. This window of time lasts generally around two to four weeks each year. Outside of new hire benefits enrollment and qualifying life events, this may be the only time that an employee can learn about the dental insurance benefits he or she is eligible for.
How Highly Engaged Employees Benefit a Company
When employees are excited about open enrollment, it benefits the organization in several ways. First, it makes workers more aware of the total compensation that the organization provides them. This includes wages, employee benefits, savings and retirement contributions, paid time off and more. Second, it brings health and well-being into focus for employees.
Lastly, it supports a culture of wellness, which contributes to the overall productivity and engagement levels of employees. According to The Wall Street Journal, a recent study of Midwest workers found that “employees who participated in an employer-sponsored health program increased their productivity by about 4 percent on average during the subsequent year.”
How Poorly Engaged Employees Impact a Company
When employees are not interested in open enrollment for medical and dental benefits, the potential impact can be hard to measure. However, most employers know that when employees do not take responsibility for their well-being, they tend to be sick more often and less productive than their peers. It’s also a missed window of opportunity to demonstrate to employees how much the company has invested in their health and financial success.
Getting Employees Excited About Enrolling in Benefits
There are a number of different strategies for engaging employees during open enrollment. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) highlights several ways that organizations can motivate and involve staff members. Here are four popular approaches.
1. Employee Surveys
Companies can conduct employee surveys well in advance of open enrollment to gauge the interest level in dental insurance benefits and other types of offerings. If there is strong demand, then the organization can focus on finding the best possible dental benefits program for employees.
Effective employee benefits communication is something that should be an ongoing effort. Informational materials should be periodically reviewed for accuracy and to make sure employees understand the value of their benefits, comprehend any changes to the plan and know when open enrollment is taking place, so they don’t miss out.
Organizations should be aware of how they compare to competing firms when it comes to total compensation. Are there areas where the company can stand out with something unique? It’s a good idea to create a total compensation statement that shares this information in clear terms.
The benefits must help workers achieve corporate objectives. In its report, SHRM found that well-aligned rewards and benefits programs deliver “a stronger return on investment and have a greater impact on instilling and reinforcing corporate values, maintaining a strong employer brand, and meeting learning and development goals.”
When employees understand how much the company cares about their well-being, they have one more reason to get excited about their future there.