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This is my story: Jodi Allen

By: Jodi Allen, Regional Sales Director, Mountain Region

I tell stories. True ones. And after twenty years as an on-air TV news reporter, I’ve told them all. The heroes coming home from war and being reunited with their families - I loved those. Every time, I’d cry and want to hug them all. The shootings, the court cases, the victim’s family interviews - I don’t forget those. I remember the lottery winners, the reunion between a heart recipient and the family of the gentlemen donor and, one of my favorites, the time I was involved in tracking down the wedding rings of a hurricane Katrina evacuee who left them behind in her rush to leave. I got to interact with so many fascinating people at their highest and lowest moments.

Telling an employer’s story

Stories - we all have one. Employers have them, too. But who is telling their story? Ever since I chose to start working in insurance, I’ve been fascinated by how employers work so hard to put together the best benefits package for their employees, and then never tell them about it. Do employees understand everything their employer is putting into their benefits? They should. Eighty percent of HR workers believe it’s important that employees understand their benefits, but they believe only 40 percent of them actually do.1 If employees understood, they would appreciate their benefits so much more.

The unemployment rate is less than 4%, meaning competition for new hires is high.2 I recently read about some of the extra steps companies are taking to attract and retain employees. One is buying cancer insurance for employees, spouses and children. A big retailer is offering adoption benefits. A cosmetics company is providing a monthly contribution to an employee’s student loans. I’m telling you, companies are doing some amazing things for their employees. However, they are falling short when it comes to telling their story.

I help tell an employer’s story

I work with firms that specialize in helping companies tell their story. The message is customized, scripted and personal. This matters. Employers need to be able to tell their story to their employees. The story is what is MOST important to the employer, and most of the time it’s around employee benefits.

Here’s why. As I mentioned, forty percent of employees don’t understand their benefits. I never understood my benefits until I got into this business. If they don’t understand what’s being offered, they won’t appreciate it or be satisfied with it. Employees who are very satisfied with benefits are three times as likely to be very loyal to their employer and more than twice as likely to be satisfied with their job.3 Fifty percent of employees strongly agree that their benefits are an important reason why they remain with their employer.4

So much of an employer’s ability to tell their story is tied up in how they enroll their benefits. Are their employees logging into a website and clicking buttons? Who’s answering employee questions about the best medical plan for them and their family? When an employee starts a new job, are they given a benefit packet with forms to fill out? Or are they sent to a website to make benefit elections? 

Companies must do better. How about face to face counselors who educate employees on all of their benefits during open enrollment? These are NOT commissioned sellers. They are educators. Or how about a call center employees can call when starting a new job that welcomes them on board? This is the way we can tell the story – by communicating more personally with employees. And most of the time, at NO cost to the Employer.

I know most employers care about their employees. So my message to them is: help your workforce understand how their benefits work. Help them prepare for that medical event. Help them prepare for retirement and set them up for a strong financial future. 

These are the stories I so enjoy telling now. I remember fighting for the viewer, and now I am fighting for the employee. Helping them. Educating them. Empowering them. 

1 “Forty Percent of Employees Don’t Understand their Benefit Options”. ADP. December 13, 2011.
2 “April jobs report: Unemployment is below 4% for the first time since 2000”. CNN. May 3, 2018.
3 MetLife’s 2015 Employee Benefits Trend Study. MetLife.
4 Metlife’s 2014 Employee Benefit Trends Study. MetLife
 

Posted on August 09, 2018 in Employee Communication

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