Variety is Valuable When Communicating about Benefits

Employees who rate their benefits communications as ‘highly effective’ reported having access to a wider range of communication options, from group meetings to e-mail messages to videos, according to research from Prudential Financial.

The Prudential research report, “Show Them the Value,” also asserted that the form of the communications is as important as the number of communications opportunities. Plan participants most prefer group meetings/seminars held during the work day (52%), followed by e-mail received at the workplace (45%), mail received at home (43%), and one-on-one meetings held during the work day (33%). Least preferred are individual or group meetings/seminars held during non-work hours (7% and 5%, respectively).

Prudential said a “clear linkage” exists between the effectiveness of employee communications and the perceived value of benefits, with employees rating their benefits communications as ‘highly effective’ also being able to see greater value in their benefits package.

The study found more workers feel their employers are cutting back on benefits, a perception that hurts their attitudes toward the value of the benefits.

“Employees must first be aware of the benefits, and really understand them to appreciate the value of those benefits,” said Lori High, president of Prudential’s Group Insurance business, in the news release. “For benefits to have a positive effect on an employer’s recruiting and retention results, they must be thoroughly explained and promoted throughout the organization.”

According to Prudential, the research also found:

  • Communications can have as much impact on worker satisfaction with benefits as the range of benefits offered or the perceived dollar amount of employer contributions.
  • Those who give high marks to their benefits communications are also more favorable toward voluntary benefits or benefits where the employee pays 100% of the cost.
  • A majority of employers and workers agree that existing communication efforts are not highly effective.