By the time Open Enrollment season is over, you might think employees are tired of hearing about benefits. But this is when the benefits conversation begins.
Once elections have been made, it’s time to step up and stave off buyer’s remorse — or worse, let benefits go unused. More than half of employed Americans (53%) don’t feel like they’re getting the most out of their health insurance options, according to a survey by The Harris Poll.
Clear and consistent employee benefits communication can turn that around and increase employees’ overall satisfaction with their employer. Remind employees about their benefits — and how to use them — all year long.
Not sure what to say? These tips can help you send the right message, at the right time, through the right channels:
- Set goals. Look at last year’s data and find areas where you can improve employee health or lower company costs. For example, if ER usage was high, remind employees about lower-cost alternatives.
- Be relevant. Benefit elections are personal decisions. That means employees gave you detailed insight into what they need and care about. Pay attention to enrollment info and other demographics. For example, employees with dependents may be interested in family-friendly benefits. And someone who is 55+ might be ready to hear about retirement planning. (Here’s an example of a targeted campaign for retirees.)
- Show and tell. With permission, share success stories about how benefits helped fellow employees. Employee ambassadors can encourage the use of benefits and grab peers’ attention.
- Be timely. Flu season, tax deadlines, summer travel, back-to-school…every season brings a new reason to talk about benefits, including non-traditional perks like travel insurance or identity-theft protection.
- Keep it simple. It shouldn’t take a 20-page manual to understand how to take advantage of an HR benefit. Keep reminders and instructions focused and clear. Remind employees about benefits and eligibility, then briefly outline the to-do steps. Always include contact information for questions or extra help.
- Stand out. Emails are a necessary tool for workplace communication — but they’re not a “communications plan.” Create messages for multiple channels, especially if you’re trying to reach non-desk workers. Some employees prefer texts, while others respond to printed information mailed to their homes. Think outside the box when you’re trying to reach non-desk workers.
Remember, Benefits Are a Perk
Benefits shouldn’t feel like a burden. Remind employees what they get for their payroll deductions, including ways to save money. You can help employees shrink their personal health care spending by:
- Promoting cheaper out-of-pocket options (e.g., telemedicine, mail-order prescriptions)
- Teaching them to shop for quality care
- Reminding them about discounts and other incentives
Employees can only appreciate the benefits they’re aware of. Keep employee benefits communication flowing year-round.