Benefits 101: Educating Younger Employees

In the age of the Great Resignation (or the Great Reshuffle, if you prefer), anything an employer can do to retain talent is vital. Providing a substantial benefits package is obviously important, but many employers overlook the important step of making sure their team actually understands what’s in the package and how it can make their lives better. This is especially true for younger team members who haven’t been in the workforce for very long.

If you’re not convinced, research by United Healthcare showed that a scant 7% of employees understood terms like premium, deductible, and coinsurance. And according to the National Library of Medicine, that type of low health literacy carries a price tag of up to $238 billion per year.

Here are a few ideas for educating your younger employees – and older ones as well – on benefits:

Cover the basics. As noted above, many workers lack a basic understanding of how health coverage typically works. Things like vesting schedules, enrollment period restrictions, deductibles and co-pays should be explained and made accessible.

WIIFM? That stands for “What’s in it for me?” Employees need to understand not only the ‘what’ of their benefits package, but the ‘why.’ Show them how a little research might save thousands on medical procedures, or the investment potential and tax benefits of participating in a 401(k) plan.

Mixed messages. Handouts from insurance providers may be the path of least resistance in terms of putting information in employees’ hands, but you should find ways to use other media as well. Different people learn in different ways, so PowerPoint presentations, videos, posters and small-group presentations can all be a part of the mix.

A process, not an event. Benefits terminology and concepts can be complex, especially to those who haven’t been exposed to them before. Education is not a one-and-done effort but a process that will take patience and repetition.

Be available. Even with the best efforts at education, your team members will still have questions. Designate someone in HR – someone who’s very patient – as a dedicated person to address employee questions. And help to get employees in the habit by requiring that they meet with HR at least once before open enrollment so they truly understand their options.

Questions about employee benefits? Contact Consolidated Insurance.