New Strategies to Engage Your Workforce in Their Health Benefits

Eligible employees might have access to a range of benefits, including primary health coverage, employee assistance program (EAP) access, well-being incentives and more. But do they actually use those benefits? Many surveys indicate that they don’t.   

For example, a Voya Financial survey found that as many as 35% of employees need help understanding their benefits and only 7% fully utilize them. On top of that, 93% of employees admit to selecting the same benefits yearly—often without fully exploring what is available.   

Despite many employees lacking engagement with their health benefits, 80% of prospective employees say they would choose a job with benefits over a 30% salary increase and no benefits. In addition, 78% of employees are more likely to stay with an employer because of the benefits.   

It's clear that health benefits are essential to talent acquisition and retention, and employers would benefit from helping employees engage in health benefits year-round. Below are some ways you can improve communication around workforce benefits:  

Ask for and Act on Employee Feedback 

Conduct regular surveys or focus groups to understand employees' feelings about their benefits. A data-driven approach can help you identify your team's pain points, value drivers and communication preferences. By acting quickly on feedback, company leaders can build trust and create a culture where employees feel safe sharing honest feedback.  

Educate and Engage Your Workforce Year-round  

Many employees only think about their benefits during open enrollment or when they have a health or life event that requires using them. To increase their understanding and adoption of benefits, communicate year-round using a digital-first, multi-channel marketing strategy. Align your themes to key audiences and population health goals. Your strategy could include regular webinars, presentations, microsites set up as a "one-stop-shop" for benefits information, and automated email campaigns. Regular touchpoints will keep benefits top of mind for your workforce.  

Tell Stories of Success  

While general benefits education is important, sometimes real-world examples can really drive home how employees can take advantage of your offerings. Share stories from members of your workforce to showcase how health benefits helped them make a change, get through a life event or better manage their health. You can tell stories that resonate with your team through videos and articles and help them better engage with the benefits offered.   

Equip Supporting Teams   

Equip your vendor partners and other supporting teams with the information they need to drive action and help your team utilize their benefits. Here are a few ways to accomplish this:   

  • Design clear pathways for warm handoffs.  
  • Develop reference guides and scripting for supporting teams.  
  • Cross-train vendor partners on related solutions—especially if they have embedded navigators.  
  • Host joint sessions for strategic planning.  
  • Partner with an employer success program like the one offered by Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions to increase benefits awareness among employees.  

For more on trends in health benefits, check out these additional Employer Insights articles: