One of the main perks of having a job is having steady health insurance. And yet only 70 percent of small businesses report offering health insurance to their employees.
That's a rising figure (up from 66 percent in 2009), but it means that three of every 10 small-business employees still don't have employer-sponsored health insurance.
If your company does provide health care as a way to communicate that you care about employees' well-being and help retain top talent, your stellar benefits package won't have as great an impact if employees don't understand just how much you're contributing toward their benefits.
A benefits package is certainly part of compensation--just as much as a paycheck is--but Millennials tend to value the extra zeros at the end of a paycheck, not the health insurance they use to visit the dentist twice a year. On the other hand, older employees who have been in the work force for several decades may take benefits for granted, because the rising costs of health care have been virtually invisible to them.
Health is an intangible value, and it can be difficult to get your employees to understand how much they're actually being paid.
Here are a few ways to communicate the value of your company's benefit package and help employees get more out of it:
1. Have an open discussion about health care
No, you don't have to tag along to the doctor with your employees. But if your company values transparency, health insurance should be an open discussion, along with your financials and sales figures.
Show your employees that premiums have been on the rise, and give them an open forum to request and receive feedback on their health care.
2. Put it on their paychecks
Whether your employees have a $500 deductible or a $5,000 deductible, let them know how much the company is contributing to health care. Try including both the monthly cost for the employee and the company on employee paychecks so there's no uncertainty about what you're providing.
3. Make information accessible with tech
If you're an old-school company that stores all of its health care info in a binder on your HR person's desk, it's time to get real. No one reads that.
Instead, give employees online tools they can use to navigate the health care system effectively. Concierge services like Health Advocate provide cost-comparison tools, information, and help locating the best prices for medical procedures in your area. If employees can use their benefits to the best of their ability, they'll value them--and your company--more.
As a leader, you know that employee benefits are the second-largest expense on the annual budget. But if your employees don't know how much you're spending on their behalf, your company won't reap the full benefits of providing health care.
If you want to show employees how much they're really being paid, start an open discussion about the cost of health care. It will show employees how much you value them and make them value your contribution even more.