Measuring employee satisfaction with your health benefits package is vital in making sure you’ve created a plan that your staff will use.
But how can your HR department (or managers) know what employees really think? The best way to gauge your workforce’s outlook is by anonymously surveying employees and having an open-door policy for complaints and questions. Here’s how to get started.
Employees Generally Like Their Health Care
Health care is a vital part of job satisfaction. In fact, a study by the Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) found that 54 percent of Americans believe health care is a very important part of their job satisfaction, right after compensation (70 percent). A report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that although most Americans believe the nation’s health care offerings are poor or fair, about half rated their own plans as good or excellent.
So you’ll be glad to know that in general, most employees like their health care. However, there are some aspects that concern them.
The TCHS study found that two out of five consumers said being able to afford medical care is their top health care priority, and 56 percent of Americans find health care costs to be a big source of stress. Americans’ top health care priorities in 2017 were access to care, one-on-one time with doctors and being able to pay for expenses.
How to Conduct an Anonymous Survey
While it’s heartening to hear most employees are satisfied, just knowing the general statistics isn’t enough. You need to know what is important to your staff: what they like (and what they don’t like) about the plans you’re offering. To find this out, you need to ask the right questions through an anonymous survey. Consider covering the following topics:
- How do they feel about the costs of your plans? Are the premiums and deductibles acceptable? Do employees prefer high-deductible plans with lower premiums? If so, they might prefer a high-deductible plan coupled with an HSA.
- Do they have a strong preference for an HMO vs. a PPO?
- Does your current plan cover employees’ preferred hospitals, doctors or specialists? Is your network too narrow for most of your staff?
- Are there any supplemental options they would like to pay more to get? These can include options like dental, vision, life insurance and even accident or hospitalization coverage.
- What’s on employees’ wish lists? Some individuals may be interested in exercise classes, in-house vaccinations or discounted gym memberships.
When measuring employee satisfaction, try to ask questions where employees can mark their answers from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” It’s a good idea to take out the neutral option so you can better gauge satisfaction levels. Also ensure that some of your questions are open-ended, so employees have a chance to freely express their own opinions outside of a limited selection of answers.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure that your employees see you taking action based on the survey. Share the results, if appropriate. If most of your employees share the same concern, such as cost, then address that and try to find a solution. If you can’t lower costs across the board, maybe you can offer a different range of plans. For example, you could allow some employees to have higher-deductible plans with HSAs and others to pay more for plans with higher premiums. Alternatively, you could institute some policies to help offset costs, like wellness programs that enable employees to earn points toward lower premiums or even paid time off to visit the doctor. Show that you care, even if you can’t fix the concern 100 percent.
Have an Open-Door Policy for Questions or Complaints
A survey might not always be enough, however. If unexpected problems come up and you’re only conducting a survey once a year, then you’ll need to give employees other options for asking questions or voicing complaints. That’s why HR should have an open-door policy for answering questions about health care. You can keep track of complaints and reference them when you’re picking plans the next year. You might even want to have a health agent come in periodically to meet with employees.
It’s important to find a plan that your employees like. Not only are healthy workers more productive, but employees who like their benefits are more likely to be happy with their jobs. If employees see that you’re asking questions and making a real effort to implement changes based on their suggestions, they’ll know that you care and see them as a vital part of the company.