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4 Ways to Help Employees Take Advantage of Perks and Programs

Posted by EmployeeChannel on 4.20.2017

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You spent month after month and countless hours researching the most effective perks and programs to add to your company’s benefits package. After making a solid case for how they would benefit employees, you finally gained approval from company leadership to add them to your benefits offerings.

With so much time, money, and effort strategically placed on benefit planning, your hope is that employees will be excited to put them to use. But you know all too well the amount of emails and package plans that go unread. In fact, approximately 50 percent of employees don’t understand their company’s benefit information, according to a 2016 International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans report.

Thanks to rising health care costs, changing benefits, and the implementation of those benefits, communication is more crucial than ever. However, it can be difficult to properly communicate the pros of every perk and program to encourage your team to get the most out of them.

Helping everyone use offered benefits to their highest potential will boost company morale and, ultimately, deliver value to the bottom line. So, here are four ways to get employees to take advantage of what your company has to offer:

1. Incorporate them into your culture. 

When perks and programs aren’t fully incorporated into your culture, employees will likely lose interest or forget about them altogether.

For example, some companies attempt to enhance wellness activities by giving employees fitness trackers, like Fitbits. Unfortunately, the hype only lasts for about a week and the kitchen is once again fully stocked with unhealthy vending machine snacks.

Instead, inspire your team by infusing your perks and programs into the company culture. To emphasize wellness, rather than merely passing out Fitbits, create fun challenges to help employees stay on track and build strong teamwork.

As you set up a culture of exciting team challenges, your team will remain engaged in the program and continue using your wellness benefits.

2. Keep organizational communication open.

Building a strong company culture around perks and programs isn’t a task that can be created and forgotten. Employees need frequent, transparent organizational communication from HR leaders. Communicating with your team will not only make them aware of the what you offer, but also has the ability to enhance teamwork and organizational success.

Many companies offer employee assistance programs (EAP), for instance, but notice employees don’t take advantage. This means they’re likely unaware of how signing up for assessments, counseling, or referrals work, are embarrassed to make their personal issues known, or are even unaware the program exists.

Organizational communication apps, like EmployeeChannel, help employees stay informed by keeping information about programs and the necessary actions needed to take advantage of them all in one easy-to-find location.

After finding specific details, the apps then allow employees and HR to stay in touch, updated on their progress with programs, and provides an outlet for seamlessly asking and answering questions.

3. Inspire with top-down buy-in.

Employees are led by example in many aspects of their career, so why not with all company benefits?

When leaders are fully invested, they’re inspiring the company as a whole. This inspiration goes a long way in positively impacting and growing the culture.

All leaders -- including direct managers -- need to get behind the company's perks and programs. Managers can easily influence their entire team to get onboard and grow with one another as individuals and teammates.

Have managers create fun team events. They can start a company sports league, train for a 5k together, or even sign up for in office yoga once a week.

No matter what events managers choose to implement, make sure they stay true to your company’s culture and the positive experience you want employees to have.

4. Ask for employee feedback.

It’s easy to forget about this step. We often feel like offering and encouraging employees to use benefits is enough. However, sometimes employees aren’t using certain programs because they simply aren't of interest or don’t fit their lifestyle.

Every quarter, task your employees with finding fun and exciting perks and programs other companies are offering. With each one they find, ask why it would benefit the team and if there’s anything they’d like to see your company discontinue.

While you may not be able to implement everyone’s suggestions, it’s important to include everyone in the process. To prevent anyone from feeling alienated, keep the lines of communication open by explaining why certain perks and programs aren’t feasible for your company at the moment.

Topics: employee experience, employee communication, employee perks

Human Resources Today