Q4 Employee Benefits Reminders: HR’s Last Chance to Beat the Rush
Q4 is upon us, and it’s traditionally the busiest time of the year for HR professionals. With so many tasks on your list this quarter, it can be hard to commit to any more.
But if you can find the time for one more line item on your checklist this month, it's a great time to communicate benefits reminders to your employees. From FSA spending reminders to scheduling health checkups, the more you can help employees plan their benefits now, the less chaotic the end of the quarter will be.
Why Are Q4 Benefits Reminders Important?
Planning and providing employee benefits takes time, money, and effort, so employers should regularly review employee benefit offerings and encourage employees to use those offerings throughout the year.
Plus, Q4 can mean a rush to use up benefits—such as PTO or FSA funds—before they expire. That rush can lead to HR bottlenecks in December as more and more benefits questions and concerns come to you at the last minute. Remind employees now to help ease the inevitable stress at the end of the year.
Q4 Benefits Reminders to Send Employees
- Annual checkups and eye exams. Most health insurance plans cover at least a portion of the plan participant’s annual check up cost. Advise employees to get an in-network check up before the next benefits renewal period. Doing so will help employees to take full advantage of this benefit and to get the most value out of the plan. Same goes for eye exams—remind employees that they have until open enrollment to get an eye exam and to use their yearly frames and/or contact lens allowance that is covered by their vision plan.
- HSA and FSA funds. To combat the Q4 spending panic, tell employees to check their HSA and FSA balances. This is especially important for FSA funds, which expire at the end of the year. You can also remind employees that they can change their HSA contribution amount at any time—not just during open enrollment—and that HSA funds do roll over to the next year if they’re not used.
- PTO balances. Encourage your employees to take advantage of their paid time off. A strong PTO policy helps retain current talent and attract prospective candidates. And taking PTO can help combat burnout, increase productivity, and boost morale. Keep in mind, however, that if Q4 is your organization’s busy season, lots of PTO requests around the holidays could result in low productivity or staffing issues. To prevent that stress, consider allowing more PTO to roll over into Q1 of next year, offering overtime for employees who volunteer to work on or around holidays, or implementing extra work-from-home time companywide to help keep the wheels turning.
- Employee assistance programs. An employee assistance program (EAP) is a benefit that assists workers with personal or work-related problems that may impact their job performance, health, or mental and emotional wellbeing. If your organization offers an EAP, do your employees know about it? And do they know where to find more information about the program? Making benefits elections can be a daunting task, and since employees are usually focused on their primary insurance selection, EAPs can be an afterthought.
Proactive employee communication is key to a successful HR strategy. Making time now to remind employees to use their benefits can both improve employee well-being and take a few tasks off your plate as Q4 ramps up into full gear.
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