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How to encourage employees to take advantage of available benefits

Published on October 23rd, 2018 by Triton Benefits & HR Solutions

Businesses' HR teams are getting more and more creative with their voluntary benefits packages. On top of traditional benefits like health care coverage, some employers are building out their offerings to include tuition or student loan assistance, wellness programs, caregiver services or a whole host of other perks for employees.

Simply offering these voluntary benefits isn't enough – HR teams must also ensure that they go the extra mile to encourage employee participation. Let's examine a few of the best practices that can help in this pursuit.

Communicate voluntary benefits: Employee awareness and understanding

While it may seem obvious, the first step here is ensuring proper communication, awareness and understanding of available benefits, and what, exactly, packages entail. Workers may not be motivated to participate in a program simply because they don't know about all the details or have a full understanding of the value the benefit could provide for them. This is especially pertinent for voluntary benefits, which are becoming more critical. A recent study found that over 69 percent of professionals noted that voluntary benefits will play an important role in their overall rewards strategy over the next five years, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. 

More than two-thirds of employers (69 percent) believe voluntary benefits will be a very or more-important component of their total rewards strategy in three to five years.

It can be helpful to circulate materials to boost awareness, or even hold brief meetings to explain voluntary offerings and how these can be advantageous for staff members.

Invite the experts to explain

In addition to communicating available offerings, it can also be beneficial to allow employees to ask questions and get all the information they need about company packages. 

When possible, it can also be beneficial to have a representative there in person and participating in the presentation. He or she may also have additional collateral or materials to share with employees to further explain the details of voluntary benefits programs.

Trade opt-in for an opt-out default

When it comes to voluntary benefits and/or benefits overall, most organizations require employees to opt-in to receive these advantages.  However, Steve Rosenthal, CEO of Triton Benefits & HR Solutions found that it can be helpful to review available options, including those for retirement, during annual reviews. 

"We address those employees considering retirement packages during our bi-annual reviews with our clients," Rosenthal said. "We're then able to find excellent alternative solutions that drive cost savings for the company and provide key advantages for employees. Since this is a sensitive issue, fostering productive communication is critical to making the plan successful." 

Make it a group effort: Consider incentives

Although voluntary benefits offerings are certainly incentives in and of themselves, it can be helpful to garner participation with further perks, even simple ones. For instance, a company providing a wellness program could reward those who meet their personal goals with a small gift card to the local coffee shop. Another idea could involve hosting a picnic or other outdoor gathering once employee participation in an offering reaches a certain level – for example, once 20 workers sign up for a certain package, HR could invite these individuals to a healthy free lunch event.

Voluntary benefits are important offerings, but they only work with the proper participation. To find out more about best practices for benefits administration, connect with the experts at Triton today.