Just as with any good, healthy relationship, communication with employees is key. 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. In an effort to assist employees in understanding and maximizing their benefits, companies should use a year-round benefits engagement strategy. Let’s explore some simple ways to set up your annual communication plan.
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. Or, 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. Or, 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.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Wordy emails, drawn-out meetings, and forever long phone messages will quickly get ignored and deleted. Instead, follow this simple formula when crafting your communication:
1. Here’s what you need to know about your benefits.
Give a quick overview of the benefit you are focusing on for this particular communication.
2. Here’s why it’s important that you know this.
In a few short sentences, explain how this benefit benefits the employee whether it be a cost savings, time savings, or simply a great help to them.
3. Here’s what you need to do to find out more.
Provide a way to find out more information on this benefit by giving a link, an email address, or a phone number.
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, explainer videos, printed flyers, and quick, stand-up meetings. By using a variety of methods, you are able to engage a broader audience since your company is comprised of a range of ages, genders, learners, and tech users.
Engaging in a regular, year-round communication strategy for explaining employee benefits will support both the company as well as the employee. Set your strategy in motion by following the simple tips shared here. And, when you do this, you will see that your employees will reap the benefits of a healthy understanding of their benefit plan.