Nearly 70 percent of employees said they had experienced rising healthcare costs over the past two years, according to the 2016 Workforce Benefit Report sponsored by Bank of America and Merrill Lynch. As these costs continue to increase, managing the overall cost of healthcare, both over the short- and long-term, remains a big concern for employees.
Against this backdrop along with an improving economy, employers must provide competitive employee health benefits to attract and retain top talent. Offering pre-tax employee benefits that can reduce overall healthcare costs, such as Health Saving Accounts (HSAs) and Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), is a great way to bring the best candidates to your company and save these staff members money in the process.
It’s also important that you encourage your employees to participate in these programs, where they can limit their tax burdens, to help them pay for increasing expenses. You don’t want your total benefits package going unnoticed or unused. This defeats the purpose of these programs, ultimately negating the benefits.
Consider these three tips to better communicate the many advantages of pre-tax employee benefits:
1. Make the enrollment meetings engaging
In many companies, large numbers of employees are unaware what kinds of benefits they have access to, and those that do know the programs exist might not know precisely what they entail. Much of this obliviousness stems from employees not paying attention during the meetings when enrollment processes and a description of the plan are introduced. When it comes to pre-tax employee benefits, these can simply be lost in a stack of benefit pamphlets they receive.
“Providing an additional incentive gets employees more engaged at enrollment meetings.”
To avoid this outcome, introduce an engaging element that will make employees more enthusiastic participants in these meetings so they understand the ins and outs of the programs and the pre-tax employee benefits available to them. This may include providing lunch or having a game-show style quiz at the end of the meeting with prizes like a $10 Amazon or Starbucks gift card.
2. Communicate and evaluate often
A once-a-year meeting detailing cryptic jargon about a range of different benefits and how to take advantage of these programs doesn’t always mean employees keep this information top of mind. However, taking some time to briefly remind staff about their pre-tax employee benefits leading up to enrollment helps ensure they’re thinking about – and taking advantage of – these programs. Using rich and varied content to describe options, such as newsletters, emails, website updates and flyers hung around the workplace are all recommended approaches. People all respond differently depending on the medium, so it’s best to deliver information about new options and important financial details in a variety of formats. In addition, avoid using any complex industry jargon that might confuse or dissuade employees from participating.
If you have the ability to implement some sort of tracking, you can gain insight into which delivery methods are most effective. This can be as simple as a brief survey to your employees asking them which content type was most helpful. This way, you can focus your efforts on what’s working.
3. Partner with a dedicated administrator
As a business owner, you’re already wearing several hats. Depending on your support team and the size of your company, you might be in charge of executing the business strategy, hiring new employees, marketing the company and any number of important tasks to keep the wheels spinning. While having to administer employee benefits is crucial to meeting employee expectations, it’s most likely something you don’t have time for.
Benefit Resource can be your partner for delivering high-quality pre-tax employee benefits to your workforce, as well as giving them the information they need to increase awareness. Click here to learn more.