Employee Benefit Communication: It’s Not Just About Open Enrollment
Employee benefits and open enrollment may be something you only think about a few times a year, and for your employees, it might be even less often. However, with a thoughtful, year-round communications plan, your business can increase employee engagement and smart benefits utilization.
Many employees don’t know what benefits are available or how to utilize them. And with many employees working remotely or on a hybrid schedule, communication is even harder. Only communicating with employees regarding their benefits package during open enrollment will most definitely result in them not taking full advantage of all it has to offer. So, what are some creative ways to engage employees with their employee benefits throughout the calendar year?
START WITH THE END IN MIND
As you begin crafting your engagement plan, think of the overall goal you want to accomplish. Perhaps you simply want your employees to be better educated on their plan offerings. Maybe you’d like to reduce the number of questions that employees ask during open enrollment meetings. Maybe you want your employees to utilize a certain plan benefit that has been historically underused resulting in higher costs to the employee or the company. Whatever the case, first set your goal for the communication plan.
CREATE A CALENDAR
Now that you have an end-goal in mind, start thinking of how frequently you want to communicate. Schedule your communication moments to post consistently. Maybe you start a “Benefits Minute” that hits the first Monday of the month. You could also start a “Benefits Blog” that posts every other Friday. Whatever the case, make the communication happen on a schedule so that employees know when to expect it and know what it’s called.
9 out of 10 employees will choose the same benefits year after year. Creating a consistent educational calendar gives people time to find out and digest changes. Be sure to send information and reminders to avoid unwelcome surprises.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Get to the main point quickly. If your communications are long-winded, employees will likely tune out before they receive the pertinent information. Instead, follow this simple formula when crafting your communication:
- Pitch – “Here’s something you may not know about your benefits.”
- Why – “This is why it’s important/relevant to you.”
- Call to Action – “Here’s what you should do to learn more,
MIX UP YOUR COMMUNICATION STYLE
Communication isn’t one-size-fits-all. People learn in different ways—some may be visual learners while others may be oral learners. Make sure you mix up the way you communicate to cover both types. Also, change up the method of communication. Try emails, videos, printed flyers, and quick virtual presentations. The idea is to get your message out through every channel available to ensure you’re reaching the entirety of your audience.
Ultimately, a good benefits package attracts and retains talent and increases the productivity of people. Following through with strong employee benefit communication is equally as important as the implementation. By following through with consistent and relevant benefits education, you will see that your employees will reap the benefits of a healthy understanding of their benefit plan!