Half Of Employees Don’t Understand Their Benefits, Study Shows

Half of employees don't understand their benefitsDo your employees understand your benefits?  If not, you are not alone.  A study performed by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans highlighted a void that exists in Employee Benefits.  That void: communication.

According to the survey:

-Only 19% of employers report that their employees have a “high level” of understanding of their benefits.

-80% of employers state that their employees don’t even read the benefits collateral.

-Approximately 50% of employees don’t understand the employee benefit materials.

With continued increases to the cost of healthcare, employers changing insurance carriers, changes in benefits, and implementation of consumer driven health plans, communication is critical.  In fact, 65% of employers say employee education is a high priority and 40% of employers now have a budget focused solely on employee benefits.  There is simply too much at risk for employees not to understand their benefits.

In order to improve this void in communication, employers are adopting year-round communication strategies to keep their benefits in the forefront.  It’s not just the frequency in communication that’s increasing.  Employees are being contacted via multiple communication channels to reach different demographics.  Employers are also implementing “word of mouth” strategies where employees explain and share their own benefits experience and how it might help their colleagues.  There is also a trend to steer away from insurance jargon and to simplify the message.

Interestingly, there is still limited use of “non-traditional’ communication channels according to this survey.  For example, only 29% of organizations provided videos to employees to explain benefits. Only 23% utilized social media, such as Facebook, Blogs and YouTube, to help with communications.  Since the average individual spends an average of 4.7 hours a day on their smartphone, there is an opportunity for employers to improve on the above statistics.

To determine if you are providing an effective communication platform, analyze your current benefit communications along with your employee demographics.  A positive correlation exists between effective communication and the perceived value of benefits from the employees.

If you feel like your organization has a void in your communication and would like assistance from HCW, please contact one of our consultants.