How Your Benefits Plan Can Run Like a Ferrari

Jan 03, 2017
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Imagine for a minute you’ve just taken delivery of a new Ferrari. Picture getting into the premium leather seats that curve just so. Then see yourself leaning forward slightly to slip the key into the ignition. You can probably almost hear all 600+ horse power by now.

So, if this really was your car, it’s safe to say you’d appreciate it. But what does all this have to do with benefit plans you ask? Well, it’s likely that if you own a Ferrari, you appreciate it because you know it and you understand it. And so you appreciate its qualities more than someone less aware of the caliber and capacity.

Surprisingly, there’s a similar comparison to be made with employee benefit plans. Without proper design and communication, overall satisfaction levels from employees and their families are about the same whether the plan is a comprehensive Ferrari or a bare bones Ford. This means employers (and their employees too) are paying a lot for coverage that is simply not appreciated due to a lack of awareness. These are wasted dollars for both parties.

So let’s pop the hood and see how employers can unlock that power in their benefits plans and get it working for their employees. 

Given the cost of employee benefits today, employers can be forgiven for wanting to measure the ROI of their benefits spend and increase the value they’re getting in return for the significant investment in their employees and their benefits plan. It’s well known that carefully designed and well communicated plans are highly attractive to high-performing employees, and benefits can be a key element of retention. In turn, this delivers value to the plan sponsor for the investment in training and development.

Harnessing the benefits plan engine is a 3-step process; first, locate your mission statement and read it – really read it. Most companies have one and probably put a lot of effort into creating it. Design your plan so it truly reflects these values. This approach ensures the benefits plan is integrated seamlessly into what drives the organizations culture and the company’s values.  

Second design your plan competitively by knowing precisely where you stand within your industry and exactly what type of employee you’d like to attract. This knowledge will help give you focus in creating the right plan.

Once these foundation blocks are in place, you’re ready for the third action which will engage your employees and fire the spark plugs.

Communicate – once again for emphasis – communicate.

Technology has made promoting and educating your employees about your benefits plan easier. But it still requires careful thought and effort to communicate a plan effectively. Get acceleration and uptake on your employees’ familiarity with all its features by scheduling either face to face seminars or using webinars. Reinforce the message with newsletters or bulletins. Whether these are broadcast through social media or through intranet sites, they provide a variety of delivery layers that increase the likelihood your message will be received. Without this kind of approach, you may have a Ferrari of a benefits plan but your employees will only ever experience a Toyota.

So what's the best communication plan for your organization? Remember step two when you designed your benefits plan? Knowing where you are in your industry is crucial in targeting just the right features to be competitive. You’ll need to take the same approach before you take the show on the road to your employees.

First, know what they know right now. Then take it a bit further and find out how they feel. Employee surveys will provide a quantifiable understanding about your employees’ level of knowledge and what they think of the status quo. This strategy will give you a starting point making it easier to set goals and manage strategies. Typically, a three year plan with actionable items each quarter will provide the momentum you need to turn the key in that engine and feel the horsepower of a fully engaged benefits plan.

Vroom vroom.

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