A recent RTi Market Research study sponsored by Aflac Inc., “Health Care Reform and Enrollment,” found that 62% of employees say they plan to pay more attention to enrollment options and choices this year, compared to last year. Employees cited rising costs or the recession and concern about coverage and health care reform as the top reasons for their greater focus.
As many hard-working Americans look to trim expenses in a tight economy, they are approaching workplace benefits enrollment options with a more scrutinizing eye than ever. Benefits managers have a busy period ahead of them, with a barrage of questions from employees and a spike in hours of the day dedicated to benefits education. Despite the significant investment of time and effort for benefits education, human resources managers agree that it is critical to keep employees informed.
According to “Why Supplemental?” another recent study for Aflac by RTi Market Research:
o About 49% of employers strongly agree their employees need to have a better understanding of their benefits.
o About 43% of employers believe a well communicated benefits program leads to reduced turnover.
o Two out of five employees agree that a well communicated benefits program would make them less likely to leave their jobs.
Becoming the Teacher’s Teacher
By stepping in to help executives educate their employees, agents and brokers provide the tools needed to gain traction with employees and help employers become benefits heroes, further solidifying that client relationship.
Because employers are just as cautious about spending as their employees are, the following are some simple tips to help them put effective education initiatives in place without breaking the bank.
Prepare. Before agents and brokers begin working with clients, they’re put through product training. Being well equipped to discuss the advantages of owning certain policies is instrumental in educating employee clients and helping them achieve adequate coverage. Employers also need a strong grasp on what they are offering, to help employees reach their coverage goals. This is where insurance professionals can play a pivotal role in helping HR and benefits managers educate their employees. Agents and brokers should create an environment for open discussion by encouraging HR and benefits managers to ask questions and then going through offerings step by step with them. HR and benefits managers can then pass on what they learn when they talk to employees.
Identify and eliminate knowledge gaps. Many employees aren’t even aware of all the benefits offered by their employers. As an insurance professional, an obvious first step when engaging a client is to understand what they know-and do not know-about what is being offered. The same advice applies when employers engage employees about benefits.