Three ways to level-up your employee experience in 2023
By Lindsay Obrentz | VP of Marketing and Communications at The Orientation Company
With annual enrollment safely in the rearview, companies are setting their sights on optimizing their employee benefit experience in the year ahead.
Despite economic concerns, the challenge of finding and retaining talent shows no signs of letting up. If there’s one silver lining to this daunting labor shortage, it’s that it has spurred organizations toward developing a more holistic and thoughtful approach to creating an exceptional employee experience. In other words, one that differentiates them from other employers looking to win over job seekers. Below are three ways we’re seeing customers embrace the employee-driven job market and work to improve their employee experience around benefits in 2023.
1. Starting new hires off on the right path
According to the 2022 TIAA Financial Wellness Survey, more than half of Americans are stressed about their finances. Employers can help set employees on the path to financial wellness by ensuring they have the guidance necessary to choose the right benefit plans for their individual needs. Because benefit decisions directly impact employees’ paychecks and out-of-pocket exposure to medical costs, choosing the right plans as a new hire can have immediate as well as long-term payoffs. With HR teams running leaner than ever, many organizations are moving away from traditional in-person benefits orientation meetings to outsourced enrollment services and digital resources like explainer videos, which employees can watch in their own time and return to as needed.
2. Adding the right benefits at the right time
With an economic downturn looming, employers are focused on finding ways to ease the financial strain that employees are experiencing. While it’s great news that more than half of Americans reached their savings goals in 2022, the fact remains that 63% of workers are living paycheck to paycheck and would be unable to afford an unexpected medical bill.
Employers can help employees improve their financial wellbeing by offering products like accident, critical illness, hospital indemnity insurance, all of which are inexpensive and provide a much-needed cash infusion if an employee experiences a covered illness or injury. Additionally, thanks to the long-term care crisis that’s brewing in the U.S., we are seeing more and more organizations taking action to get ahead of state long-term care insurance mandates by rolling out employer-sponsored plans with long-term care benefits. These group policies offer better coverage and greater flexibility and can qualify employees to opt-out of publicly funded long-term care programs. Because long-term care insurance is a product that many workers have no idea they need, it is best received when accompanied by a strategic education, communication, and enrollment strategy.
Regardless of the type(s) of plans being added, waiting until open enrollment is not necessarily the best approach. New plans can get lost in the noise of in-force plan changes, which is why choosing an off-cycle enrollment period can help improve participation and adoption of new products.
3. Providing access to education and guidance
It’s not enough to offer great benefits. Employers also need to provide support and resources to help employees choose and use their benefits to their full potential. In a recent article on 2023 benefits and workplace predictions, Tom Spann, CEO and co-founder of Brightside, summed it up by stating: “Employers need to offer employees not only more benefits, but a better way to navigate those benefits. We’ll see more companies look to enhance the personalization of their benefits’ navigation so that their employees can use the right benefits at the right time and overcome usage barriers.”
At annual enrollment, this could mean investing in decision support technology or bringing in a trusted advisor to help employees choose the best plans for their individual situation. Throughout the year, it could mean offering a help desk that provides quick answers and advice so employees can use their benefits to their greatest potential. The key is finding a solution (or combination of solutions) that covers employees’ needs across all seasons. The questions employees have at annual enrollment (Which health plan should I choose?) are vastly different from the questions that arise during the year (Where should I go for care? How do I file a claim?). Companies that offer a blend of decision support and ongoing customer service are sure to provide employees with a well-rounded experience that gets them into the right plans and helps them feel confident in their benefits all year long.
Enhancing the employee experience is a win-win for all involved. Happier employees are more likely to contribute in a meaningful way at work, and organizations that can tout their employee experience and culture will boost the odds of attracting the right talent to help grow their business.
ABOUT THE ORIENTATION COMPANY
At The Orientation Company, we partner with clients nationwide to provide full-service HR/benefit solutions that make their culture shine. Leveraging our decades of industry experience and a “people over everything” mentality, we help companies achieve excellence around new hire onboarding, long-term care insurance and other special-purpose enrollments, annual enrollment, benefits education, and communications. Ultimately, we exist to help our clients maximize their return on investment in benefits while improving their employees’ lives.