Creating a more helpful workplace environment

Posted by Genius Avenue on February 12, 2015

Being helpful is a great trait to practice. This is just as true in an office environment as it is anywhere. Help works two ways in an office. When employees constantly assist each other with projects and offer advice to make the workload more manageable, they also help the company's larger focus to grow and be efficient. Upper management should help employees as well, and there is no time when an employee needs assistance more than during benefits enrollment season.

When it comes to workers choosing benefits solutions, employees have a great deal of questions they want answered. Human resource staffs and upper management need to be as supportive as possible in addressing them. But what exactly does being accommodating in this type of office setting mean?

Ways to be helpful

Many people have different ideas of what it means to be helpful. Offering assistance to an employee doesn't mean doing their work for them, but offering guidance or advice. Sometime being helpful can be as simple as keeping all employees in the loop with what is going on in the company. There are many ways to establish this support:

   Take concerns seriously: During enrollment season, HR teams send out a wealth of information, whether through email, signs in the office or announcements made in person. However, this one-way communication might not be enough for many employees who still have questions or concerns. Instead of just directing an employee back to the information already printed or stated, just listen to everything he or she has to say. According to U.S. News and World Report, listening to an employee also means being ready for feedback, even if it's negative. If an employee is being critical then he or she has reason to be. Either the information being communicated is not clear to them, or they have some other concerns about the process. Instead of shrugging it off and telling an employee this is how things are done, just hear them out and work with them to find a solution.

   Understand employees: The employees in the office are all different, from their cultural background, to their age or their family medical history. Because of this, they are going to be interested in different aspects of health benefits. It is important to keep that in mind when conveying information. Since not all benefits packages are the same, it can be costly to make a wrong decision when choosing a benefits program, or even detrimental to the employee's health. Entrepreneur noted choosing the wrong benefits package can be an expensive error. If an employee feels rushed or is afraid to ask questions and makes a mistake, harm can come to the employee in the long run. Being helpful to employees means making sure they understand what they are signing up for.

   Make time: Just because office hours are established doesn't mean an employee is going to utilize them to express concerns if he or she feels it's going to be a waste of time. Life Hack stated stressed-out employees would rather figure things out for themselves than deal with management they aren't sure is going to pull through. If a time is established for employees to express concerns to management, make sure those hours are taken seriously. Don't waste employees time by being insincere or not acting on their requests. Employees know when meetings or office hours are simply there for appearance as opposed to actual assistance.

Being accommodating to employees is the only way to make the benefits enrollment season run smoothly. By not helping employees, a company is not helping itself. Make sure all employees are aware of the various benefits packages and able to make the right choices for themselves. While it is ultimately up to an employee, management should be there every step of the way.

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