Benefits administration is something that most employees only think about once a year during open enrollment. However, a strategic HR department can leverage their organization’s benefits package and processes to drive employee engagement and satisfaction year-round.
The benefits package is often an important selling point during the recruiting stage, working hand-in-hand with salary, culture, and other key differentiators as you try to entice the candidate to come on board with your organization over your competitors. And while it plays an important role in recruiting, it can continue to play an important part for your entire workforce long after each employee first started.
Steps for Driving Engagement with Benefits
First, it’s important to communicate effectively to ensure your employees know about all of the benefits available to them. While things like health insurance, dental, vision, and retirement plans may be obvious to most, other benefits like tuition reimbursement and professional development assistance may need to be promoted a little more.
Self-service tools can help ensure employees know about all of the benefits available to them and to take the initiative to learn more about these benefits offerings on their own. Providing decision support tools or personal consultations can also help employees feel confident that they’re able to fully use the benefits available to them and that they’re making the best choices for them. And, of course, preparing employees well in advance for open enrollment can help your benefits administration processes go smoothly and efficiently.
In addition to ensuring employees are aware of their benefits and able to select the options that are best for them, it’s equally important to encourage them to use these benefits. For example, if an organization offers unlimited PTO but creates a work environment in which employees don’t feel like they can truly use this benefit, this will have a detrimental effect on employee engagement and morale. Conversely, when your workforce knows about the benefits available to them and they’re encouraged to use them, your employees will feel that the organization values them as individuals and is looking out for them.
Giving Employees the Options They Want
As a final note in connecting benefits administration to employee engagement, you may also consider giving employees an active role in deciding on the benefits you offer. Collecting feedback through an organization-wide survey or otherwise welcoming suggestions from employees regarding the benefits that are most important to them can demonstrate that your organization is listening to employee wants and needs. However, to be effective, these surveys must be followed up with the willingness to make real, visible changes.
Done right, benefits administration can help increase levels of employee engagement and morale, contributing to a positive and productive company culture.
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