As reported by Workforce Management – October 8, 2008: Communication Gap: Nine out of 10 employers think it is important for their employees to understand and appreciate their benefits, but most employees don’t do either, according to a survey conducted by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Co. In the survey of 650 employers, the Columbia, South Carolina, insurance company said 21 percent of employers think their employees have a good understanding of their benefits. Nearly 5 percent think their employees know nothing at all about their benefits. Employees are more likely to feel loyal to companies when they appreciate the value of their benefits (research by Watson Wyatt Worldwide) (emphasis added). Providing fewer benefits but explaining them well can be more important than offering richer benefits employees didn’t understand, Colonial Life says (emphasis added). Employers in the survey said having one-on-one meetings would significantly improve employees’ understanding of their benefits, but only 58 percent of employers offer such meetings.”
This information makes me angry. And it should make you angry also. In a world that has developed endless means of communication, 79 % of companies are still failing to properly communicate with their Employees – a captive audience for Pete’s sake! – about something as important as the benefits the company is providing for the well being of the Employees and their families? This is absolutely absurd! Especially when the immediate upside is increased Employee loyalty without spending another penny!
To thrive in the WorkQuake© of the Knowledge Economy, every Company needs an effective Internal Communication Process to ensure Employees get the information they need to become the Core Employees every Company wants. So, why don’t Companies do what is so essential for success in the Knowledge Economy? When I work with clients to develop an effective Internal Communication Process, I find there are three internal barriers to putting such a process in place:
1. We don’t have the Time to communicate properly with Employees! Since the success of the Company is connected to effective communications, Employers need to find the time to communicate regularly with Employees at all levels. Without the necessary information about the Company and what affects them, Employees cannot be engaged or empowered, therefore they will not be engaged or empowered. Without Employee engagement and empowerment the Company will not thrive in the WorkQuake© of the Knowledge Economy.
2. Employees will not Understand the information! Still think Employees are dumb do we? How Command & Control! The Knowledge Economy Employees are quite capable of understanding any information that affects them in the workplace. And if they don’t understand, then take a look at how you are presenting the information.
3. The information is Secret! In the Knowledge Economy there are no secrets. Your competition already knows what you pay per pound of product the Company purchases and Employees don’t want to know those details anyway. Employees want to know about the stuff that impacts them, such as the cost of health benefits. So, as an example of information your Company should be providing Employees, is your company issuing a semi-annual Benefits Cost Sheet that shows Employees what each of their benefits cost the Company to provide? If not, why not?
The Bottom Line is your Company needs to develop an internal communication plan that provides information not only about benefits but also about the Company’s Strategic Plan. Research shows 95% of Employees don’t have a clue about the Company’s Strategic Plan or how they fit into the achievement of that Plan. How do you think the Company is going to achieve the Goals set forth in the Strategic Plan without the involvement of the people who have to carry out the Action Plans necessary to achieve those Goals?