How to Increase Employee Satisfaction with Benefits: Healthcare & Wellness
A well-researched benefits strategy is great for everyone involved; investing in employees creates employees who give back to the company. A Work Institute report says it can cost employers 33% of a worker's annual salary to hire their replacement. That's $15,000 per person for an employee earning a median salary of $45,000 a year. Why not take those dollars and put them back into your current workforce?
Measuring employee satisfaction is important, but difficult
Net Promoter Scale (NPS)
A popular choice among companies for proving value, an NPS score is the percentage of people likely to recommend something on a scale of 0 - 10. It's calculated by summing all strong promoter scores above 9, then subtracting all detractor scores of 6 and under. Scores of 7 and 8 are omitted from any calculation as they are positive, but not positive enough to lead to any active recommendation or promotion. Because of its formulation, the results can be easily skewed with a few negative experiences. It only takes a handful of 5 or 6's to bring the satisfaction score down.
While this scale is more familiar to employees and can be more manageable due to a simple 5-point scale vs the calculations for NPS, it's easy for quick-responding employees to default to the middle - neither good nor bad. When used for employees with limited time, it makes it difficult to get a true read into actual positive or negative perspectives.
4-Point or Even-Numbered Scale
A more effective method than a 5-star scale is a 4-point or even-numbered scale, as it omits a neutral middle number (i.e. in a 1 to 4 scale, there is no neutral 2.5). This approach at least pushes for some indication of preference, positive or negative.
Outside of surveys, it's always beneficial to listen to your employees. Try tools like anonymous or third-party surveys, suggestion boxes, or even brief interviews. Once you get to know your employees' needs better, it is easier to implement benefits you're confident will work.
Improving employee satisfaction
#1: It starts with education
Employees typically hear about their benefits only once a year. Make the most of this window by explaining their benefits crystal-clear with an on-site or virtual demo from your benefits partner. It should include a simple explanation of the advantages of their benefits and how to make the most of them. Try using a benefits helpline or add an FAQ page to your company intranet or portal.
#2: Keep employees up to speed
Employees may not think about their benefits until they need them. When it comes time to navigate their health portal, for example, they may not have used it since the original open enrollment period. You can keep information accessible by storing it on a company-wide shared drive, and help employees stay in the loop through email updates, informational mailings, and lunch-and-learn events. Platforms like “HealthJoy” or “Accolade” can also proactively engage employees and help them navigate their healthcare options.
See a sample checklist below of common techniques used at key moments during the year.
#3: Refresh your benefits packages
When is the last time you evaluated your benefits programs - the overall effectiveness, not just the price tag? As your workforce evolves, make sure the employee benefits you offer do as well. Health benefit perks are the most popular choice, and when integrating them, it's important to address multiple pain points, not just a single option.
#4: Consistently promote good health
Show support for employees' health by promoting their wellbeing. For example, provide an onsite flu vaccine clinic (which is often available at no charge through insurance companies or other programs). You may also offer onsite or virtual yoga, meditation, or nutrition support. At the same time, ensure employee health benefits cover wellness exams like annual physicals, eye exams, and dental exams.
Sample timeline for a successful benefit year
Introduction: During open enrollment
Provide written summaries of benefits, for employees to access when they have time
Share access to live or virtual demos of a given benefit
Provide a helpline or easily-accessible FAQ
Add/update the company benefits intranet or portal
Maintenance: Throughout the benefit year
Share regular communication from and about the online portal
Send weekly or bi-weekly email updates on key HR developments
Schedule monthly Lunch & Learn's about new features or FAQ's
Send calendar invites to create reminders to sign up for benefits before expiration
Continue to promote good health by offering timely flu shots, blood pressure checks, and eye exams.
Preparation: At least two months before renewal
Assess satisfaction survey results, benefit utilization rates, and claims costs
Gather employee testimonials
Determine the benefit ROI from the past year
Make any coverage changes and communicate to employees new benefits via a scheduled marketing plan
Recruit employee "fans" as educators for next year's maintenance communication
You can download a 1-page version of this checklist here.
Making it work at your company