Monday, December 1, 2008

Tip of the Day: Get workers to tune in to benefits updates

With open enrollment season in full swing at companies nationwide, employees who miss out on benefits may be simply throwing money away.

Nearly a quarter of workers don't pay attention when new and potentially cost-saving methods are offered, states new data from CareerBuilder.com. More than half of employers report that workers are losing more than $250 through poor choices, and 20% report that workers are losing $1000 or more.

"Open enrollment ensures that eligible employees are not missing out on significant amounts of helpful benefits and wallet friendly programs," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder.com. "In a challenging economy, many people are being prudent about how they can save money by cutting back on exorbitant personal expenses, but also need to be aware of cost-saving benefits at work that are easily available to them."

Haefner offers the following tips to employees to take advantage of benefits savings:

-- Keep benefits on radar: Workers are already overwhelmed with e-mail, so make each communication count. Use bullets, bold, and consumer marketing techniques to convey benefit changes, especially when cost savings are available.
-- Speak up: Make yourselves available to employees, via telephone or one-on-one meetings.
-- Be proactive: Tell employees about savings available through benefit changes, and highlight information about savings in these communications. And during one-on-one meetings, be sure to take the time to educate employees about other benefit offerings that might be of interest, like transportation reimbursements, or FSA plans.

The survey was conducted among more than 6,100 U.S. workers and more than 3,000 hiring managers and HR professionals between August 21 and September 9, 2008.

1 comment:

Jennifer Benz said...

Great post! It is especially important that employees understand the combination of premiums + out-of-pocket costs during enrollment. Picking the low-cost option may mean big out-of-pocket expenses next year, and that may be a bad combination for low-income employees.