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Benefits Communication: Does One-Size-Fit-All?
Unformatted Document Text:  Benefits Communication 5 individuals with greater usage of communication materials are more satisfied with the flexible benefits plan. Moreover, employees voicing a concern about an aspect of their benefits are more satisfied than those employees electing not to take advantage of this opportunity. On the other hand, not voicing concerns is associated with lower levels of satisfaction. As Rabin (1994) states "those individuals not taking the opportunity to complain about an aspect of their benefits are those expressing lower levels of satisfaction." Thus, not only the way the organizations communicate is important but also two-way communication is essential. In sum, communication is the essence of benefits satisfaction. Whether organizations are competing for top candidates or are focusing on retaining employees, they need to understand the role of communication in benefits satisfaction. Research indicates that communicating clearly and seeking employee input play a key role in benefits satisfaction. Decision Making and Understanding of Benefits Organizations have the difficult task of disseminating complex information on the various options available to enable its employees to make informed choices. The dissemination of information does not necessarily indicate that employees understand the information, thus making informed decisions. For example, a poll done 15 years ago reported that a lack of understanding of medical and pension plans contributed to negative employee perception of traditional benefits (Tane, 1987). Thus, a primordial question for scholars to address is how much do employees understand their benefits package? Haar & Kossack (1990) examined the understandability of benefits packages. They sampled benefit packages from Fortune 500 companies. They found that the readability and comprehensibility of the material was beyond the level of the average employee. In particular, the readability scores ranged from the tenth grade to college level, well above the average levels

Authors: Picherit-Duthler, Gaelle. and Freitag, Alan.
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Benefits Communication 5
individuals with greater usage of communication materials are more satisfied with the flexible
benefits plan. Moreover, employees voicing a concern about an aspect of their benefits are more
satisfied than those employees electing not to take advantage of this opportunity. On the other
hand, not voicing concerns is associated with lower levels of satisfaction. As Rabin (1994) states
"those individuals not taking the opportunity to complain about an aspect of their benefits are
those expressing lower levels of satisfaction." Thus, not only the way the organizations
communicate is important but also two-way communication is essential.
In sum, communication is the essence of benefits satisfaction. Whether organizations are
competing for top candidates or are focusing on retaining employees, they need to understand the
role of communication in benefits satisfaction. Research indicates that communicating clearly
and seeking employee input play a key role in benefits satisfaction.
Decision Making and Understanding of Benefits
Organizations have the difficult task of disseminating complex information on the various
options available to enable its employees to make informed choices. The dissemination of
information does not necessarily indicate that employees understand the information, thus
making informed decisions. For example, a poll done 15 years ago reported that a lack of
understanding of medical and pension plans contributed to negative employee perception of
traditional benefits (Tane, 1987). Thus, a primordial question for scholars to address is how
much do employees understand their benefits package?
Haar & Kossack (1990) examined the understandability of benefits packages. They
sampled benefit packages from Fortune 500 companies. They found that the readability and
comprehensibility of the material was beyond the level of the average employee. In particular,
the readability scores ranged from the tenth grade to college level, well above the average levels


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