What’s as important as offering a quality employee benefits program? Communicating those benefits clearly, so employees can best take advantage of them.
Undoubtedly, your employees value their benefits. But they may not understand them as well as you think. Insurance isn’t easy to fully grasp. And studies show that employees invest surprisingly little time making important enrollment decisions. By enhancing your communication campaign, you can make it easier for your people to make informed choices.
Here’s five ways you can power up your enrollment communications:
- Keep the Messaging Simple.
People who speak fluent ‘insurance-ese’ every day—i.e., benefits and HR pros—may forget that others don’t know the jargon. Make sure your benefit communications are presented in conversational language.
Take the time to explain key terms. For example, do all your employees even know what a “voluntary” plan is? Why not also indicate that this is an optional benefit?
In addition, keep your enrollment meetings lively. It’s great if your carrier provides a meeting script, but if you don’t think it will connect with your workforce, it’s in your interest to revise it.
Do whatever is required to make sure your message hits home.
- Communicate in a Variety of Formats
People communicate and learn in different ways. In today’s multi-generational workforce, different employees might respond best to different communication vehicles. An effective communications campaign might include:
- Live meetings (small and large)
- Online webinars and presentations
- A series of emails, sent to work and to home
- Mobile-accessible platforms (especially important to younger employees)
- Social media
- Say It Again, Sam
Remember, many people need to hear and/or read complex information more than once before it sinks in. It’s a good idea to restate your primary messages multiple times, using different wording and visual tools as different media formats allow.
At the end of an enrollment period, access the effectiveness of these various initiatives. Can you spot any trends? What initiatives triggered the greatest response? In other words, determine where to put more emphasis going forward.
- Communicate throughout the Enrollment Period
Establish a communications timeline in advance, releasing a steady flow of information that will keep your enrollment period top of mind.
Take advantage of your timeline to break up the material, delivering data in digestible bits. Be sure to call out new programs and changes (even those that might not be well received). And make sure the pricing is up front and clear. Many enrollment decisions are driven by price.
- Ask for Employees’ Questions
Give employees continuous opportunities to ask questions on the phone, via email, and at meetings.
Keep track of those questions and look for patterns. You may find that many employees are struggling to understand the same concept or benefit. That gives you an opportunity to improve those communications.
In addition, provide employees with access to additional resources, whether it’s online, via a hotline, or at a live help desk. The better educated your employees are, the better they’ll be able to make good enrollment choices. And when they make the right insurance choices for themselves and their families, they’ll appreciate your benefit program all the more.