Navigating Benefits

HR’s Role in Explaining Your Employee Health Benefits

  • Many employees value benefits but less than a third understand how to fully utilize them
  • Human resource professionals can use a multi-channel approach to communicate about benefits with employees
  • Decision-makers look to HR professionals to provide clear data on the use of health benefits to manage costs
Posted by September 25, 2019

In many small businesses, human resource professionals are tasked with explaining group employee health benefits to workers. HR professionals are best-equipped to keep up with the continually evolving benefit plan structures and legislation. And, since they likely know the most about those subjects, they are the perfect choice to develop benefits packages that attract and retain employees in a competitive labor market.

HR’s Role in Benefits Communication

Employee health benefits should be clearly communicated to help employees select the benefits they need during open enrollment, as well as to help them get the most from their benefits throughout the year. Human resource professionals use a variety of methods to accomplish this, from direct conversations with employees to corporate-wide presentations. They may also coordinate their efforts with marketing personnel to raise awareness of employee benefits.

A November 2018 survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) revealed that “even though employed Americans place great value on the benefits offered to them, less than a third (28 percent) are very confident they are utilizing them to their fullest potential.” This is where human resources can shine in any organization: by communicating to employees how they can take full advantage of their benefits package.

Relaying Benefits Needs to Leaders

When talking with decision-makers about what workers need, the use of employee benefits data can help convince them. For example, data could be compiled about the average use of each type of benefit so that the next benefits package is more useful to employees. In addition, cost factors could be tracked and evaluated against other factors like employee productivity levels and wellness objectives.

Communicating Effectively About Group Benefit Programs

Employers should use an employee-focused communication strategy that includes multiple channels to reach employees. Some ways that HR professionals can relay information about benefits to employees may include:

  • A central employee benefits website that includes all the benefit plan information
  • A regular email or print newsletter sent to employees that discusses important well-being topics
  • Annual total compensation statements that include detailed health benefit use data
  • A toll-free phone hotline for all employees to access live help with health benefits
  • A mobile application that includes access to plan information, cards and instructions

When employees feel supported—for example, when they are in the middle of a medical emergency or enrolling in their benefits—they will understand the value of their health benefits plan. Understanding how and when to use benefits can help them feel confident about using them. They may even be delighted to find out about hidden health and dental benefits that they have underused in the past.

The Importance of Using Health Benefits

The most important reason for employees to use their benefits is so they stay healthy and productive. Employers who offer generous benefit plans send the message that they care about the well-being of their employees, which is a powerful way to attract and retain talent.

Looking for resources to help you decide on the best insurance plans for your organization? Explore the Dental Plan Navigator hosted on United Concordia Dental’s website.

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