As a former HR executive, I knew it was critical that my organization evaluated our benefits annually to ensure we were attracting and retaining top talent. While that might sound a little like the popular Captain Obvious commercials, it is not as easy as it sounds. What is important to one employee may not be important to another. So, how do you ensure you are meeting the needs of your current employees while simultaneously staying current with trends to differentiate your organization in the competitive job market?

At the beginning of 2021, Stephen Miller, CEBS, published an article titled Upheavals Alter the 2021 Benefits Landscape. Miller describes the importance of telemedicine; mental health; workplace flexibility; diversity, equity, and inclusion; financial wellness; and healthcare as the top items in 2021. Now that 2021 is winding down, let’s look back on these trends, as they are still just as relevant today. How do we incorporate these people-first trends into our HRIS solution so they don’t become an “upheaval” for the HR department to administer? While each benefit is easy to add as a benefit plan to your system, employees don’t gain value until you make it an easy experience for them to take advantage of the benefit.

Ready Benifits

Telemedicine

Let’s be real — we all have a little Zoom fatigue from the online meetings and working relationships that became so dominant since 2020. However, a tool like telemedicine ensures every employee has access to coverage through technology. Healthcare providers offer this tool as a part of doing business with them. Your role as the employer is to promote the tool and make it easy to find when needed. Your organization can do this by building a Company Hub for employees. The Company Hub can provide tools and communication that are personalized to each employee’s experience. Think about providing videos that give clear direction on how to engage and use telemedicine, interesting facts that demonstrate its effectiveness, and direct links to the provider sites to engage a doctor. Each of these tools will help promote telemedicine and make it easier for employees to engage in the benefit when needed.

Mental health

The pandemic emphasized the importance of mental health and healthy interactions. As items shift to a remote format, what are the additional ways you can effectively engage employees? In addition to employee assistance programs and other mental health resources, the best thing we can do is remove the excuses to sit at our desk and instead be present with our employees. One principle I always shared with my HR teams was this: Focusing on systems and automation allows us to have more frequent, high-quality interactions with our employees instead of being consumed with administrative tasks.

Don’t hide in your office because you have tasks to complete. Think about how configuring UKG Ready™ workflows can help automate those processes to ensure you are connecting with your employees and have the time to address their unique concerns. To learn more about leveraging basic workflows, make sure to check out our “Configure Basic Workflow” course within the HR onboarding Learning Journey within the Learning Center. 

Workplace flexibility

Workplace flexibility has replaced the term work-life balance. Balance comes from having the flexibility to manage all our commitments and joys in both our work and personal lives. The more flexibility we can provide, the more opportunities our employees have to create a situation that fits their lives. However, that doesn’t happen without having the tools and resources that work effectively. Ask yourself: Do we make it easy for employees to request time off to deal with a child who has been quarantined from school? At the doctor’s office, can an employee access key benefits information when needed? Can your managers approve timesheets when they are on the road so they don’t need to come into the office in their free time? These scenarios are all possible with your UKG Ready solution and are great ways to begin to shift your culture to one that your best employees don’t want to leave and one that attracts top talent to be a part of a great environment. Your employees must have access to the proper knowledge to leverage the UKG Ready mobile app and all it has to offer. No clue how to get started? Check out our mobile resource page

Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are pillars to have within your culture, but how many organizations can say these pillars are evident in their benefits, and what does that mean? Do your benefits reflect the diverse needs of your employees? As I mentioned earlier, what is important to me in a benefits package may differ in importance from other employees. Is everyone represented, and are the communication, access, and tools surrounding those benefits offered in a manner consistent with what each of the different demographic groups needs? I suggested earlier this can all be reflected with a personalized Company Hub that directly reflects the employees who are using it: diversity, equity, and inclusion videos that reflect those watching; access that is convenient to those using it; and communication that is clear, concise, and helpful to the families that need it.

Financial wellness

It’s fair to say that every one of us would love to be in a place where there are no financial strains to create stress or even health concerns. True financial wellness, like other benefits, is unique to everyone. Provide employees tools that can model what they will need to save in order to retire at the level they would like, outline the financial impact different benefit plans will have on their weekly paycheck, or explain all the benefits provided. One of the biggest reasons employees don’t utilize the benefits is because they don’t completely understand them or they  have misconceptions around the cost. Offering simple training videos that employees can view when they are comfortable exploring their options could be the one item that gives them the confidence to begin to take advantage of everything available to them. Each time I was able to show that an increase in 401(k) contributions didn’t mean a dollar-to-dollar reduction in their take-home pay was the moment I saw so many employees move from knowing they should contribute to actually contributing. It is hard to touch everyone personally, though. Use your UKG Ready solution to offer those simple training assets that can connect each person and pull together the pieces of information they need when they are at home discussing with their family. And, once again, how can they do this? Through the use of our mobile app. Employees can easily access their benefits whenever and wherever.

Healthcare

Employees have lost their way in terms of taking care of themselves. Either due to cost, concerns that we can’t be on site with a doctor, or not taking advantage of telemedicine, we lost our consistency in routine healthcare. How do we help employees get back to prioritizing their health and show them that we care about them and their families? Like the approach with telemedicine, make the access to healthcare readily available and in the format that each person and family is most comfortable with. Make communication to employees abundantly clear. Help them understand what is included for families and what they need to do to take advantage of it. Announcements that highlight the importance of routine care, a to-do item to complete an annual physical, or a text message that emphasizes how important a dental checkup can be to your overall health are all great options. Most employees don’t know or remember that they have such great benefits available to them or even that the organization is investing in them. Regular communication about healthcare turns a potentially unused benefit into an incredible value where employees feel appreciated for all they do.

As with most things, even the best benefit or greatest tool can get lost without strong, personalized communication. Communication is not easy because it needs to touch the diverse organization you have in order for it to be effective. So, let UKG Ready do that work for you! Your solution already understands the demographics of your organization and can tailor the communication to the audience receiving it. Popup messages, announcements, Company Hub, and personalized panels are available in your system to focus the message and target the areas to the employees and their families.

Ready Benifits

Set up a schedule for the messages you want to send out. Create targeted notifications based on events that occur in the system. Be creative to reach as many people as possible in a unique way that makes each employee feel as if you are talking with them directly. Employees are our most valuable resources. Invest the time and tools to put your people first.  

Published: Tuesday, November 2, 2021