Year-round communication is key to helping employees understand their benefits offerings. Does your company need help creating a benefits communication strategy that is personalized, targeted, timely, and accessible? Check out this episode of our Benefits Buzz podcast as we discuss how to build a year-round benefits communication plan that will educate your employees on their benefits and help prepare them for open enrollment. Or keep reading to learn more.
Did you know: Up to 50 percent of employees don't fully understand their benefits. Considering how much time and budget goes into making sure employees have the very best benefits possible, it’s equally important that they have the best benefits information possible, as well — especially during trying times. This is why mapping out a communication strategy and distribution schedule can make a big difference in how your message is received.
“What we like to recommend is to engage (employees) each month throughout the year,” said Steve Carroll, senior vice president of client services and implementation at benefitexpress, a WEX Company. “Specific things are happening each month.”
Start by defining the business goals you hope to achieve as a result of your communication strategy. For example, do you want to increase enrollment in a specific plan? Or perhaps you'd like to see a decrease of inbound calls to your HR team? Whatever your goals may be, align them to your overall communication efforts for maximum results.
Next, you must take into account the various audiences your workforce comprises and segment your communications accordingly. For example, you may need to create different messages based on characteristics such as benefits class, demographics, job profiles, plan or program eligibility, etc? Being thoughtful upfront about who you are trying to reach will help your benefits communication materials have maximum impact with your audience.
Additionally remember to include a clear, concise call-to-action (CTA) that helps employees understand exactly what they need to know or any next steps they need to take.
Lastly, consider how you will deliver your message. From email to postcards, separate benefits websites to Slack channels, selecting the right medium is paramount.
Timing and other considerations
Seasonality frequently comes into play when it comes to communicating benefits offerings to employees — and this is a great place to start when building an effective communication strategy. For example, January is the perfect time to take the “New Year, New You” approach and introduce what’s new and exciting with your programs.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, presenting an opportunity to communicate information on the mental health benefits options your company offers. Finally, late summer may be the time to start talking about open enrollment, including how to navigate your enrollment portal and important deadlines to keep track of.
“The benefits to a year-round benefits communication plan are two-fold,” Carroll said. “For one, it’s keeping them engaged. And then some clients who don’t have a communication plan, they’re trying to jam-pack all of that in one week’s time.” Communicating year-round can alleviate some of the burden when open enrollment does arrive.
We all have email inboxes that fill up fast! For tips on how to cut through email fatigue with your HR communications, check out this blog post and podcast episode!
The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, you should consult your own counsel.