The Affordable Care Act looms ever closer, set to take effect in 2014 but with some employer compliance deadlines coming up in 2013. For example, employers must provide their employees written notice about health care exchanges by October 1st. Don’t leave your employees to figure out health care on their own, especially now, when issues and deadlines surrounding the Affordable Care Act are getting closer. Take some time with employees to answer questions, explain requirements, and provide resources for understanding the new law. Workshops, seminars, meetings, or lunchtime presentations are good formats to do this and have the bonus of providing opportunity to engage employees.
It’s an opportunity to connect, listen and understand employee needs and concerns about health insurance and the law. Building that relationship and trust is vital to engagement, and here’s an issue employees surely want to discuss.
Let Them Hear From Senior Management
The Dale Carnegie Training White Paper “What Drives Employee Engagement and Why It Matters” reveals that a key driver in employee engagement is belief in senior leadership. Busy executives won’t realistically be able to sit down with individual employees to explain and discuss the health care law and its ramifications.
But they should be open about the law and make it clear that the company is committed to talking about it with employees. They can mention it in employee and department meetings, in executive blogs, in employee newsletters, and on the company intranet. It’s important for trust and communication to come from the top down, and showing that the company is planning to help employees understand the law builds trust.
Reference Reliable Sources
It’s important to give accurate information from reliable sources, and be able to refer employees to good sources such as www.healthcare.gov, local news sources, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Make sure your staff is communicating the information in ways that employees understand.
Even if you are an employer with more than 50 employees who offers health insurance already, take some time to discuss the new law with employees with information they can verify. Show your company cares enough about employees to help them understand the law and how it applies to different employers. And for small employers who have to make decisions and make choices about what to do, being open and communicative with employees at every step and providing references is an opportunity to demonstrate integrity and caring.
What to Talk About
As Sharlyn Lauby of TheHRBartender reminds us, “Creating an ACA strategy is not optional.” And she explains that 75 percent of employees expect their employers to help them understand the new law. Sharlyn says that not providing communication about the ACA could hurt employee engagement.
The Affordable Care Act is new and complicated, but there are some key topics to review that are important to employees:
- Pay or Play
- 30/130 Rule
- Healthcare Marketplace
- How it impacts families
- Important deadlines
Don’t miss any opportunity to build employee engagement. Use the challenges of the new healthcare law to talk openly with employees about how it will affect them and how it will impact your company. The trust you build working through these complex changes together will benefit your employees and your bottom-line.
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