For many employees today, salary is no longer the sole measure of what constitutes a desirable job. Fed by business news websites, online forums and chat rooms, and countless other sources in our information-rich society, savvy employees are keenly interested in the perks offered in their benefits package.
In addition, with healthcare reform at the forefront of our national consciousness, employees are more sensitized than ever regarding employer-sponsored insurance that provides the coverage they need and want for themselves and their family members. As a result, business leaders are looking for benefits packages that are affordable for the company while helping employees remain healthy and productive.
There are a few important tips that can increase the success of employers as they create a balanced and cost-effective benefits package that will appeal to current and future employees.
Ask questions—and the important ones.
Company leaders should avoid the temptation to hastily choose an insurance carrier based on name recognition alone or because a peer, family member or acquaintance chose the same carrier. The choice of a benefits plan carrier is one of the most important steps a business will ever take, so it’s worth the time to ask questions and really evaluate the answers.
Here are a few issues to explore: What experience does the carrier have in the specific industry the company is part of? What are some examples of successful relationships the carrier is currently in? Does the carrier offer internal support to help company leadership create a customized benefits package? And on that subject …
Choose a customized benefits plan over an off-the-shelf package.
“One size fits all” rarely does. For that reason, businesses should work with carriers that allow their clients to customize programs that match the size, industry and other key factors of the company. A made-to-order, “best-practice” wellness program with tools that fit the specific needs and interests of the company’s employees produces a happier and healthier workforce—and can even reduce workers’ compensation rates for the business.
A well-qualified insurance broker/consultant can help business leaders sort through the many options in a customized insurance program to choose the components that maximize employee benefits while minimizing the cost to the business.
Build you Benefits Package Around the Workforce
Another reason to choose a customized benefits plan instead of an off-the-shelf plan is the critical importance of building the plan around the business’ workforce. Even the best benefits package cannot be successful without the involvement and buy-in of employees. Interviews or surveys can help company leaders understand the needs and desires of its employees regarding benefits and, as a result, create a plan that has built-in employee support—because it was their idea in the first place.
One of the most valuable services an insurance consultant/broker can provide is help with developing the survey. Company leaders should be careful to engage with a broker who has experience in these matters. He or she can make the process easier than going it alone, with much more complete and reliable results.
Start a healthcare literacy program to help employees help themselves.
It is important for companies to develop healthcare literacy programs that show employees how to maximize the benefits of their plans. With the rise of so-called consumer-driven health plans—which carry higher deductibles for covered services—employees need to become wise consumers.
Through healthcare literacy programs, employees learn valuable information that can increase the effectiveness of their health plans and save them money. For instance, they can learn why it is important to seek out a center of excellence for the specific type of medical care they need, and how they can get better care and save money by asking the right questions at their doctor’s office. Many people are constrained by fear or timidity from asking their healthcare provider if there is a more cost-effective alternative for their care—or even negotiating the cost of the care they receive. A healthcare literacy program can provide the information and confidence employees need to engage in these important conversations.
Employers that partner with their insurance carrier and consultant/broker to develop and offer educational materials can maximize the positive results of the program. The broker has the knowledge and experience to work with the insurance carrier to create a healthcare literacy program that targets the specific needs and concerns of the business’s employees.
The right benefits package empowers employees to make good health decisions and provides inspiration for them to achieve their personal and professional goals—and in the process, supports the growth and development of the business for which they work. By spending some concentrated time creating a customized package that fulfills the needs and wishes of their workforce, employers can reap the reward of happy, healthy employees.