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Closing the Benefits Literacy Gap

“We want to hire people for their career. To do that, it’s very important for us to show that we’re going to take care of them beyond their paycheck.”

— Dean Zimmerman , VP of Human Resources, Hendrickson USA

Executive Summary

Appealing to skilled talent in a world of changing workforce expectations is becoming more challenging. Benefits have taken on new importance. But simply offering a great benefits package doesn’t go far enough if employees fail to understand them or appreciate their value.

Our latest research, in partnership with American Fidelity, shows that manufacturers are eager to close the benefits literacy gap by putting more emphasis on educating their employees about their benefits. Best-in-class companies prioritize high-touch assistance and support for open enrollment. Live question and answer sessions create space for employees – and their partners – to ask questions and make informed benefits choices. Multi-channel communication strategies give employees the chance to hear about benefits at regular intervals throughout the year, not just during open enrollment.

The return on education investment is clear. Best-in-class benefits strategies are already creating higher levels of job satisfaction and loyalty. Leading companies are looking to benefits literacy as a driver of productivity, innovation, and overall competitiveness.

View the Report

The Pressure of Changing Workforce Expectations and Who Feels It Most

Changing Workforce Expectations Chart

Key Takeaways and Best Practices

  • RE-EVALUATE YOUR BENEFITS PACKAGE. Benchmarking against direct competitors ensures that your talent pipeline isn’t leaking because of your benefits package. A periodic review also ensures that the benefits you offer align with your company’s strategic goals.
  • MAKE OPEN ENROLLMENT ACTIVE. Create more benefits engagement with your employees by asking them to participate in an active open enrollment process by making or confirming their selections each year. This approach will improve benefits literacy and data integrity. It is also linked with higher loyalty and retention.
  • LEVERAGE MULTI-CHANNEL COMMUNICATION. Make sure your content strategy includes the widest variety of channels including email, videos, live sessions, links, QR codes, texts, flyers, postcards, etc. Postal mail to the home can help you reach your employee’s partner, who in many cases makes the decisions about benefits. 
  • COMMUNICATE YEAR ROUND. Develop a communication and educational plan covering before, during and after the open enrollment period. By adopting an effective year-round communication strategy you can support retention, prioritize employee well-being, and elevate overall job satisfaction.
  • CREATE SPACE FOR EMPLOYEE QUESTIONS. Offer on-site or virtual question and answer sessions with benefits counselors to give employees the opportunity to ask about topics important to them. Don’t forget to think about language barriers, the role of the partner, and co-browsing options for individuals with limited computer skills.
  • CONSIDER A PROFESSIONAL ENROLLMENT SERVICES PARTNER. If in-house HR teams are stretched too thin or not present in all areas, consider a partner who can assist your employees and expand your reach as it relates to benefits communication and enrollment support.

Want More?

The results of this study are discussed in an on-demand presentation, Benefits and Education: The Keys to Employee Satisfaction and Retention. American Fidelity's Jared Levy, National Growth Specialist, and Brent Rempe, Account Development Executive, shared the data from the survey, the latest developments in benefits offerings, open enrollment best practices, how to communicate benefits to employees, and more.

Watch On Demand

In partnership with

American Fidelity Assurance Company is a leading benefits administration provider with more than 60 years of experience helping employers and their brokers solve key benefits challenges. We aim to act as an extension of your human resources department to support the development of a sustainable benefits culture through proven employee engagement, education, and enrollment strategies.