When employees place a high value on their employee benefits, they have a better overall perception about their organization and that results in lower attrition and higher engagement. A good benefits package makes it that much harder for employees to jump ship and it makes them that much more committed to their jobs.
But here’s a little secret: the value employees place on their benefits package has more to do with how well those benefits are communicated than it does with the benefits themselves. That’s right, an average benefits package communicated very well can have a higher perceived value than a very rich benefits package that is communicated poorly. The best situation, of course, is to have great benefits and to do a great job communicating them.
Regardless of what benefits are offered, communication is the key to perception and perception is the key to how satisfied employees are with their benefits package. The traditional approach to communicating employee benefits places a heavy emphasis on informing and educating employees about their benefits. But an internal marketing campaign that emphasizes motivational messages is more effective at driving plan participation and shaping employee perceptions. Education is important to help employees understand how to use their benefits appropriately, but first they have to be aware certain benefits exist and then be motivated enough to want to learn more or participate in the plans.
401(k) matching contributions, medical plan choices and flexible spending accounts are important but not particularly compelling topics. But, as writing coach Ann Wylie once told me, the job of an employee communication professional is to make what is important also interesting. That takes more creativity but it doesn’t have to cost any more money. By simply doing a better job packaging and promoting benefits you already have in place, you can enhance the perceived value of your employee benefits, boost plan participation and drive employee engagement deeper into your organization. Perception becomes reality.
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In next week’s blog, I’ll reveal a secret benefit that you can promote to instantly boost the perceived value your employees have of their benefits package. Can you guess what it is? In the meantime, I invite your thoughts on communicating employee benefits.
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