6 Tips for Introducing a New Benefits Plan to Employees

Woman introducing employee benefits to a small group

This post was written by Humi

You’ve made a big decision to put a new benefits plan in place, so take the time to ensure your employees fully understand the new information and processes you’ll be introducing.

Administering your new benefits will be easier in the long run if you succeed in effectively introducing the new plan. A good communication approach can also have a positive impact on employee morale, while poor communication may have an unintended negative impact.

Investing in employees through benefits fosters a loyal, engaged, and productive workforce. In fact, 84% of employees with high benefit satisfaction report high job satisfaction. When implementing a new benefits plan, it is critical to educate your employees on the plan in order to maximize these positive outcomes.

Here are our six top tips for getting your employees up to speed on their new benefits plan:

1. Consider immediate and ongoing communication

You want employees to be well prepared for the introduction of a new benefits plan. The sooner you are comfortable notifying them, the more prepared they will be. This might take the form of simple communications as soon as you begin to review benefits options, followed by more detail once a plan has been selected.

It is easy to get caught up in the short term, immediate needs and many plan administrators focus their communications around the time right before the new benefits become available to employees. But communicating during and after implementation is also important for a successful strategy.

In addition, be prepared to answer general questions year-round and contemplate planning communications around peak enrolment periods. Give thought to the different kinds of information you might share about your benefits and when this information would be most useful to employees.

For example, employees tend to think about fitness and developing healthier habits at the outset of the new year. Use this time as an opportunity to share information about company wellness programs and benefits.

2. Organize an engaging, informative launch event

Nobody wants to sit through a boring training session. Developing a strong presentation with captivating visuals, educational materials, and easy-to-understand content plays an important role in kick-starting your benefits communication process.

When preparing, avoid jargon and don’t assume employees understand even basic benefits terminology. Focus on educating employees about their new benefits coverage, the benefit enrolment period, and any advantages of the new plan that are worth noting.

You should also clearly explain to employees how they’ll be able to access their new benefits. Providing a walk through of the digital portal and/or benefits app can be especially valuable and will help you demonstrate how your new plan is user-friendly and accessible.

3. Communicate through multiple channels

Different employees prefer different communication formats. Although some benefits plan providers will send automatic notifications throughout the enrolment period, not all employees will heed these notifications—especially if there is no other form of communication.

A live presentation is a strong start, but it’s important to continue the communication process by sending your own follow-up emails and providing written materials. Making your live presentation available online can also be very effective in this technological age and will be appreciated by those who may not have been able to attend in person.

One recent survey shows that only 4 in 10 employees believe their employee benefits communications are easy to understand. Communicating across multiple channels will allow your employees to digest the information in a way best suited to them.

4. Enlist some champions

Positivity can spread in the workplace. Enlisting a few people to help others understand the new benefits plan can go a long way. Be sure to show your champions the clear advantages and intended positive outcomes for your company’s workforce.

Ideally, there will be full buy-in from your senior leadership team and they will act as champions as well. As some HR staff work with limited or even decreasing resources, this is a cost-effective way to engage your employees with their benefits plan internally.

5. Open up dialogue

Keeping an open dialogue is useful in gauging how well employees understand the benefits plan. Having a clear point of contact identified internally will ensure questions are received and addressed quickly.

Encourage feedback or input from staff about the changes, and create systems and strategies for addressing these concerns. Surveys can also be helpful in getting a pulse on which benefits are most important to your employees.

6. Leverage external support

Seek support from your benefits broker or benefits provider when preparing information for your employees. They may be able to provide you with written marketing materials and plan summaries for ongoing reference.

Consider asking whether your broker or provider are able to come to your workplace to help you introduce the new benefits plan to your employees and assist in answering questions. Finally, ensure that your employees know how to contact the provider directly should they have any future questions.

Following these tips will help you not only communicate the value of your benefits plan but maximize that value. A recent workplace survey conducted by MetLife states that three out of five employees believe that the benefits offered by their employer are the reason they stay there.

Ultimately, your business’s investment in benefits will yield a much greater return for you and your employees if you develop a plan to communicate your benefits properly.

Humi is the leading HR, Payroll, and Benefits solution for rapidly scaling small and medium-sized businesses across Canada, and has helped a number of companies get started with Honeybee Benefits. Humi is a group of builders and boundary pushers, building the tools that help Canadian organizations foster their greatest asset: Their employees.