Changes to employee benefits can be difficult to manage. If they aren’t handled correctly, employee morale can suffer and employees may be more hesitant to participate in group plans. Not all employees are averse to change. There are some who experience dissatisfaction with their current benefits. According to a study by Clutch, 52% of them wish their employer would increase a benefit they already have, while 14% want their employers to offer completely different benefits.
While changes to benefits often occur annually in order to stay competitive and meet legal requirements, some employees may not view those changes as welcome, especially if there are substantial changes in coverage or the premiums increase. These top tips will help you help your employees through the changes.
Share information about employee benefits changes early and often.
The earlier you can alert employees to changes coming down the pike, the more time they have to prepare for it. Let them know you are keeping them in the loop by sharing information on the changes as often as possible. If you don’t provide information and are slow to offer updates you could be perceived as secretive and untrustworthy.
In other words, employees may begin to wonder just what you’re hiding. The more transparent you are, the more trustworthy you appear. When you have the trust of your employees, they will be much more likely to accept the changes to benefits, allowing you to advise them and guide them.
Explain the reasons for the change.
Typically, people appreciate honesty and transparency. Explaining the reasons for key changes in employee benefits can help with increasing understanding. When they can understand why the change was necessary and why the decision was made, they will often be much quicker to accept them. When you can show them the advantages of the change for them and for the company as a whole, it may be met with more positivity.
You may want to create a list of frequently asked questions, with the answers, to give to affected employees. This way, your words are supported by a written document that they can take with them. It gives them time to read and process the information, so they can better understand it. If they forget a portion of the changes, they will have the document as a reference.
Show compassion and empathy – This is people’s money.
Often employee benefits changes mean personal changes for the employee, such as a bigger chunk taken out of their budget due to increased premiums or changing their primary care doctor. When these changes are looming, it is natural to be upset and even panic. When humans are afraid or frustrated they may not show their best side. Showing some compassion and empathy can quickly diffuse the situation and help make the change a little easier.
Remember, you are dealing with people’s money and that can be a touchy subject for them. Having to pay more can be a source of fear and changing doctors can be frustrating. The calmer you are, showing sensitivity to what that person is going through, the easier you can make the transition for them.
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Changes in benefits can be a sticky situation, no matter your industry or organization. We can help. Innovative Broker Services offers innovative human resources tools that will help you make the process smoother for your employees. Call 916-932-2864 today to talk to one of our knowledgeable, experienced representatives and find out how we can help.