Making The Most Of Employee Benefits: Communication Is Key

In Employee Benefits, Group Income Protection, Protection by Claire Ginnelly

Communication is vital for employee benefits adoption but many employers are missing the mark.

At a time when many people are unable to see their GPs — either because they are scared to attend face-to-face appointments for fear of catching coronavirus, or simply due to a lack of available GP appointments — the role of employee benefits has perhaps never been more important.

With products like Private Medical Insurance and Group Income Protection both frequently providing access to virtual GP services and Employee Assistance Programmes, Group Risk benefits can significantly support employees during this difficult time.

One of the most crucial aspects with any employee benefits programme is the communication surrounding it. Not enough comms or difficult to understand messages can significantly hamper adoption. That’s why any new or updated employee benefits offerings need to be carefully communicated to ensure maximum adoption.

However, many organisations are falling short in this regard.

More than a quarter of employees do not understand the benefits available to them

A significant number of employers say their employees do not fully understand the benefits that are available to them at work, new research shows.

In a survey of 1,665 HR decision makers and employees for industry body GRiD, over a quarter (28%) of employers said they believe their workers do not fully understand the benefits they can take advantage of through their employment.

The GRiD poll also revealed how 10% of employers believe their employees are only aware of some, and not all, of the benefits being offered.

How employers are communicating benefits

When it comes to raising awareness of employee benefits, just over a quarter of organisations (26%) send out some form of quarterly communication. Just over a fifth (21%) communicate benefits once a year and just over one-third (38%) only do so when there has been a change to the benefits, like an amendment to T&Cs, on offer.

In addition, almost one-third (29%) of organisations inform new employees of the benefits when they are first employed.

Disappointingly, 8% of employers say they never communicate benefits. However, this does not tally with employees’ views, more than a third (35%) of who cannot remember seeing any benefits communications from their organisation.

The most popular way to communicate employee benefits is via staff welcome packs, as highlighted by just under two-fifths (38%) of employers. Alternatives include: providing staff handbooks (29%), outlining benefits in offer letters (25%), emailing details (25%) and giving employees access to a staff intranet (19%).

Speaking about the findings of the research, Katharine Moxham, spokesperson at Grid, said: “A huge amount of resource, time, energy and money is invested in compiling employee benefits packages. This is maximised when a workforce is aware of the benefits and understands them.

“We see people at some of the most vulnerable stages in their life in our industry: at times of ill-health, disability and bereavement. Circumstances that by their nature are often unforeseen. This is exactly why benefits that support such situations need to be communicated regularly, so they are front of mind when they are needed.

Here at Premier Choice, we can not only provide you with friendly, independent advice about the best employee benefits for your organisation and your workforce, but also provide insights into how to best communicate those benefits once in place. Reach out to one of our experts who can explain all the options available to you.

Claire Ginnelly is the Managing Director of Premier Choice Health and has been in the private medical insurance industry since 1991. All her experience has been gained working for large insurance companies managing the distribution of health insurance products through intermediaries. She has held senior positions within Standard Life Healthcare, as Head of Intermediary Sales, and Groupama Healthcare, as Head of Distribution.