92% Trust Peers. Try Some Peer Prompting

Creating your Open Enrollment communications is a feat of both patience and haste. Getting employees to read those OE comms is another effort altogether. If you’re planning a postcard, a posted PDF, and an email, we think you can step up your communications game.

Find Your Benefits Believers

Research company Nielsen tells us that 92% of people trust information from their peers over any other source. If you can find benefits-savvy employees in each department, division, warehouse, etc., you’ll have trusted allies. Plus, peers speak each other’s language — a dialect free of HR jargon.

We have a lot of ideas on how to think outside the box in your employee communications, but right now we want to talk about your advocates — employees who can talk to other employees about the benefits you’re offering and how to enroll.

Relying on Managers? Most Are Too Busy

A Facebook Workplace study found that 58% of leaders don’t have time to share information with their direct reports, and 50% of them often miss important information from HQ and HR.

The Making of a Good Advocate Program

Make It Easy for Them

Any assignment is doable with easy-to-follow instructions. (Have you ever assembled furniture out of a box?) Lay out exactly what you’re asking advocates to do, and include a distinct timeline. We like creating “tool kits.” Here’s what might be in a tool kit you send out for OE (it’ll vary depending on the audience, but you get the gist):

Packet #Instructions
Envelope #1, titled:
“October 14 — week before enrollment opens”
• Hang enclosed poster in kitchen area
• Hang enclosed banner at entryway
• Send email (text enclosed, and in your email)
Envelope #2, titled:
“October 21 — day enrollment opens”
• Hang enclosed posters in bathroom stalls
• Place enclosed table tents in break room
• Read enclosed script in shift announcements
• Send email (text enclosed, and in your email)
Envelope #3, titled:
“October 30 — few days before enrollment ends”
• Place enclosed flyers in high-traffic areas
• Read enclosed script in shift announcements
• Send email (text enclosed, and in your email)
Envelope #4, titled:
“November 4 — last day of enrollment”
• Read enclosed script in shift announcements
• Send email (text enclosed, and in your email)

Make Them a “Source of Truth”

Employees should know that their advocate is a direct route to the benefits department, and they can get answers to questions. Give your advocates a cheat sheet for triaging questions. Also commit to them — you’ll be there when they need you. If not right that minute, then within a business day or 24 hours.

Ideally, you’ve chosen employees who have been with the company a while and are in one of the medical plans. If you have advocates eager to help but they’re not as familiar with all the benefits you offer, invest an hour or two in online training.

Make It a Rewarding Experience

From certificates of appreciation and plaques, to gift cards or an extra vacation day — there are many ways to thank your advocates for being the trusted voice of HR.

BONUS!! If you play your (gift) cards right, these employee advocates can help you throughout the year.