Communicating Employee Benefits Throughout the Year
Having an excellent benefits package is essential. Benefits can make or break your business. According to recent surveys, 78% of employees would remain with an employer because of their benefits package and more than half of employees would accept a job that paid less if the included benefits package was appealing.
What if you have a great benefits package, but employees don’t understand how robust it is? What if they’re not taking full advantage of everything offered? Communicating employee benefits throughout the year, not just at orientation and open enrollment, is important. Here are five tips on how to keep the conversation going.
1. Determine Your Overall Takeaway Message
Any communication effort should have an end goal in mind. Before you start a benefits communication campaign, ask yourself what you want the takeaway message to be.
Do you simply want to boost enrollment, or do you want to make sure your employees aren’t leaving voluntary benefits on the table? Are you concerned about younger employees who don’t fully understand their benefits, or are you trying to soften the blow of significant changes to the benefits packages of a more experienced group of employees?
Knowing your end goal can help you come up with a communications strategy that’s more effective and better received. Also, knowing your takeaway message will help you stay motivated and committed to communicating employee benefits throughout the year.
2. Keep It Simple
Forget the insurance lingo and Shakespeare-worthy monologues. When it comes to communicating employee benefits, keeping it concise and straightforward is the best approach. Readability research shows that the average American prefers to read informative content at a 7th-grade level.
While you’re simplifying your content, don’t forget to write with an empathetic touch. Paperwork about benefits can come off as cold or sterile, especially with topics like health care and life insurance. Don’t be afraid to work in a little humor when appropriate.
3. Keep a Communications Schedule
Design a content calendar that focuses on putting out timely and remindful information. For example, content should remind employees of open enrollment several months beforehand.
During flu season, inform employees on what preventative measures they can take, including how their health insurance can help them get a flu shot. Is it the summer wedding season? Send out content explaining how employees can add spouses to their insurance. Remember to also send periodic reminders about benefits with year-round open enrollment as gentle reminders about optional coverage policies.
4. Don’t Forget to Listen
Communicating employee benefits isn’t just about starting a conversation. It’s about being involved in it. Make sure you take the time to listen to your employees. Their questions and feedback can help you determine if your overall message is getting across.
If you’re having trouble making the connection, don’t be afraid to ask your benefits provider about common questions and concerns. You can use this information to drum up content that might get a dialogue started.
5. Use a Variety of Communication Channels
Do you tend to stick to email for business communication? That might be fine when dealing with accounts or projects, but when it comes to communicating employee benefits, we suggest using a few different approaches.
If an employee needs to discuss benefit options with their spouse, a flyer or brochure can be helpful for them to take home. Some of your employees may not require daily email use, so sending out postcards to home addresses can be an effective way to get critical messages across. Brainstorm a bit and mix up your communication style throughout the year.
Are you ready to start communicating employee benefits year-round? Making sure employees understand that their benefits are important to you will always be well received.
To learn more about benefits and how to communicate them to your staff, reach out to Benefits Solutions Group.