Stephen Hawking once said, “When the going gets tough, the tough take a coffee break.” Ok, maybe it takes a little more than a cup of coffee to get people motivated. Many factors create high morale in the workplace. Pay, flexibility, health care choices, company provided lunches, and ping pong tables can all affect how employees perceive their jobs and their employer.
“When the going gets tough, the tough take a coffee break.”
– Stephen Hawking
According to an Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study done by the MetLife, 51% of employees feel that employers have a responsibility for the health and well-being of their employees. 74% of employees agreed with the statement, “Having insurance/benefits gives me peace of mind for the unexpected.”1 Understanding that one’s basic needs are taken care of, should the unimaginable happen, provides employees a sense of relief.
Benefits Are Important
Let’s take a break from all the numbers for a minute.
Less than a year ago, the excitement of a new baby was in the air at my house. The end of December due date was fast approaching. While attending the annual employee benefits meeting, I heard the words, “We have decided to switch health insurance carriers.” Excitement was replaced by dread as the thoughts of paperwork, claims submissions, denial letters, and more resubmissions were likely with our expected December 29th baby arrival.
“My wife and I looked at the pile of unintelligible bills and claims. Suddenly, thoughts of leaving the country sounded like a good solution.”
The baby came right on time. The insurance claims went to the wrong insurance carrier, just as anticipated. My wife and I looked at the pile of unintelligible bills and claims. Suddenly, thoughts of leaving the country sounded like a good solution.
Luckily, my employer uses a stellar benefits broker. First, we submitted the paper mess we had received from the hospital and both insurance carriers to the broker. Then, we signed a few forms and had an email conversation. Less than a month later, all was well.
New baby or not, I was a little more than distracted during this period. Relief from a potentially stressful situation came when I knew my company and my benefits would take care of everything.
A survey done in 2012 by Ask.com, revealed that 60% of respondents would rather spend a night in jail than lose their employee benefits.2
Evaluate Your Benefits
The money, the job, the atmosphere of an organization all play a role in employee morale. Many times, the benefits package becomes an afterthought. Here is a list of questions you might ask regarding your company’s benefits, work environment, and the morale of your employees:
Do we lack a valuable employee benefit?
Often, employers focus on their health benefit offering and view other benefits as optional. Overlooking secondary and even tertiary benefits can cause businesses to sacrifice a benefit the employee finds valuable. Commuter Benefit Plans (CBP) are a perfect example of a benefit that can save your employees time and money. If you have employees in New York City, San Francisco or Washington DC, you may already be required to offer a program. Employees save an average of $450 a year* when they take advantage of a CBP.
Are employees missing out on benefits we already offer?
“If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound?” If an employer provides a benefit and nobody participates, is the company truly offering the benefit? According to a Colonial Life survey, Only 41% of employees say their employers do a good job of informing them of the available health and wellness services.3
Are we doing the best that we can to communicate our benefits package?
Regardless or your benefit offering, a communication plan is paramount. For example, you implemented a high deductible health plan, but find participation is lacking. Your first step should be to review how you are communicating the benefit and take specific actions to drive HSA adoption. You may choose to put paper flyers in inboxes or develop a team of ambassadors that can reach out to employees. Approaches to communication vary depending on the culture of the organization. A plan of communication that has multiple touch points helps remind employees of the benefits that can make their lives better.
Do the benefits we offer actually make employees happier?
We all know that happy and engaged employees are more productive and enjoy work more. The American Psychological Association says that the least happy and committed employees can cost an organization up to $28,000 a year in sick days.4 An unutilized benefit may be adding to the unhappiness.
Can we do away with the rest of our benefits and just get a cat?
Just kidding, but this was a fun article to read.
BRI can help
Benefit Resource can help you provide a benefits package that meets needs and builds morale. We have a robust online resource for communicating the benefits your organization provides. Our fantastic staff dedicated to the success of your benefits program. We’ll gladly provide one on one advice for building an effective communication plan for your benefit programs. If you already participate in a BRI program, let us help you improve your employee morale by effectively communicating the benefits to your employees.
What benefits do your employees appreciate most? Let us know in the comments.
*Assumes an average election of $125/mo. at a combined tax rate of 30%. Individual elections and tax rates vary.