Benefits and Compensation

5 Ways to Increase Employee Benefits Engagement at No Additional Cost

Human resource professionals know the benefits of offering relevant and effective health and wellness benefits to their employees, but keeping employees engaged with them can often feel like a full-time job.benefits

And with shrinking budgets to support benefits programs after they’re rolled out, how do you find ways to make sure your employees are getting the most out of what you’re offering?

These tips will help you engage your employees more effectively, even with no additional budget.

1. Make Your Employees More Aware

One of the easiest ways to get your employees to engage with their benefits is to simply communicate their availability. Nearly half of employees report that they don’t fully understand their benefits, so create a campaign or program that can help them better understand what they have access to.

If your company has an intranet where you share resources and office news, consider creating a resource section with short videos explaining the ins and outs of benefits. It’ll not only make it easier for employees to find the answers they need, it will also save HR time by not having them answer the same questions multiple times!

2. Host Contests

Depending on the benefits you offer, you may have built-in contest tools within the benefit platform that will let you engage your entire organization at once. Contests create friendly competition and may encourage employees who haven’t yet used a benefit to try it out for the first time.

Contest prizes can be awarded to those who complete the most challenges or earn the highest number of points in a given time period. Or, you can reward employees just for participating. If you don’t have additional budget to provide prizes like gift cards, consider offering a work-from-home day or casual-dress day as a reward.

3.  Encourage Coworkers to Share

Employees often trust each other’s opinions about how effective benefits are and which ones they’ve had the most success with.  If one of your employees hasn’t yet used a benefit, but some of their peers have, it’s likely that word will spread about the benefit’s efficacy.

See if you can set time aside with employees who are currently using their benefits to see what they like and what they don’t and address their concerns. By making benefits work better for your employees, they’ll be more likely to share their positive thoughts with others in the office.

4. Encourage Management to Participate

Similar to how employees take cues from their peers about how useful a benefit is, employees also look to their leaders for guidance. Get your management team to participate in their benefits to set a good example for employees who may be on the fence about participating.

If your managers aren’t using their benefits, it’s likely that employees won’t avail of them either.

5. Make It Easier to Find Benefits

Finally, while you may not be able to change how a benefit looks and feels, or even the nuances of how it works, you do have control over how easy it is for employees to access them. Instead of burdening employees with remembering lots of links and passwords, consider using a part of your company’s intranet or monthly newsletter to curate all of the links employees need to access their benefits.  Putting links and resources in a single location makes it easier for employees to find what they’re looking for when they need it most.

As you try new engagement techniques, monitor their effects over time. Absenteeism rates and employee happiness may trend upwards at the same time as your engagement numbers rise. Always look at multiple metrics to get a complete picture of how your engagement programs are performing.

Chris Whitlow is the founder and CEO of Edukate, a workplace financial wellness provider with a mission to give every person access to expert financial guidance. Chris works with the Edukate team to solve problems that ease the financial stress most Americans experience each day. Edukate helps employers provide the best financial wellness benefits, thus helping employees manage their financial stress, increase their productivity, and live happier, healthier lives.