How transparency in your benefits plan improves your relationship with employees
As you work to change your benefits plan for the better, you should also be communicating these changes to your employees.
Open, honest communication is a key sign of a healthy workplace, and this particularly applies to your benefits plan. Benefits are often a confusing and even unpleasant topic for employees who are tired of paying too much for low-quality care, but you and your advisor can change the narrative around benefits by encouraging transparency and thoroughness when discussing them with your employees.
As you work to change your benefits plan for the better, you should also be communicating these changes to your employees in a setting that encourages questions and honest opinions. The more you communicate with your employees about their benefits, the more likely they’ll be to do everything in their power to use the tools and strategies built into the plan.
An atmosphere of communication
In discussions about benefits or anything else within the workplace, your employees should feel comfortable communicating with you. Verbal praise and tangible rewards (which you can offer through your benefits plan through bonuses or paid deductibles) are crucial to sending a positive message to your workers and reminding them of their value within your business.
This concept of easy discussion particularly applies to conversations about benefits. When it comes to their plan, your employees should always feel like they are:
- Up to date – Any changes or updates to your plan should be communicated to your employees as soon as possible.
- Well-educated – A continuous, comprehensive employee education plan is crucial for your workers to understand how their benefits plan works and how they can make the most of it.
- Able to ask questions – Your workers should feel comfortable asking about any aspect of their plan, and there should always be someone who can give them the answers they need.
Good communication is crucial for a healthy workplace environment, and you can create it from within your benefits plan.
Back to reality
Your employees aren’t operating under the delusion that the health care industry is inexpensive and easy to navigate. They’ve likely experienced the worst of the benefits industry for themselves, and when you and your advisor introduce how you’re going to make the experience better for them, they may be skeptical.
You and your advisor need to communicate to your employees that, while change is possible, it will require your workers’ efforts in order to take effect. Be honest with your employees, and explain to them why your plan is implementing these new tools and strategies. All of your workers should understand how their actions help them receive better quality care at a lower cost while also saving the company money. Being transparent with the tough realities of the benefits challenges you face won’t make your uphill climb to better care seem insurmountable to your employees – it will simply leave them better prepared to make the most out of their plan for the sake of everyone involved.
Create a conversation
Education creates conversation, and this is especially true when referring to your benefits plan. Your workers should be a part of the benefits conversation from day one, but they’ll be more empowered to do so one they better understand how their plan works and what they need to do to get the best results from it.
Over time, your employees may understand their plan so well that they begin to look for solutions on their own. They’ll always have you and your advisor to turn to when they have questions, but the more they can do their own research based on what they know about their benefits plan, the easier it will be for them to make choices about their own care. This empowerment, however, comes from a workplace culture that educates employees year-round about their plan. While a great employer will ensure that everyone in the company feels comfortable talking about their plan, educated workers are far more likely to ask constructive questions and make the benefits conversation one that they feel they can be a part of.
Open communication is necessary for your benefits plan to have its maximum intended impact on your employees and your business as a whole. By creating an overall atmosphere that encourages communication, being honest about the solutions and challenges involved with your benefits plan, and educating your employees about their plan, you can build your workers’ trust while helping them get the best value from their plan.