These Q1 Reminders Are Key for Benefits Communication

You spent much of last year planning this year’s benefits — negotiating, structuring, communicating, and probably putting out fires. But will your efforts pay off?

Year-round benefits communication reminds employees what they signed up for, and helps them make the most of the benefits you work so hard to offer.

In 2021, employees will rely on HR for critical information about vaccinations. And after last year, we’re all ready to be nimble and flexible with the “what, when, and how” of benefits communication. Still, don’t lose sight of the work you put into structuring benefits that support employees all year. Even if Q1 needs to be crisis-focused, take time to build a communications strategy for the rest of the year. Employees can only appreciate the benefits they’re aware of and understand how to use.

Three nuggets of wisdom to share with employees now, and even through late summer:

  1. The plans can help them save money.
    You’re immersed in these concepts every day, but employees haven’t thought about them since November. Reeducate them on the various ways to make smarter decisions on health care spending (e.g., promote telemed/telemental, alternatives to ER, prescription mail order, generics, apps like GoodRx).
  2. The right care at the best value — it’s doable.
    An MRI at one facility may cost thousands more than one just down the street. Price is not indicative of quality, especially for specialty care. Employees may not understand this, so show them how to shop for quality care (e.g., check costs and ratings for doctors, labs, and clinics before a medical procedure, use dedicated nurse lines or advocates to ask questions before seeking care).
  3. There are great benefits outside of medical, dental, and vision.
    Employees only think about “other benefits” when they’re needed. Find ways to keep all your benefits top of mind. (e.g., remind employees how you help protect them financially with life insurance and identity theft protection; tout that you help make lives a little less stressful with pet and travel insurance and childcare discounts).

Communicating employee benefits isn’t an every-year-in-the-fall obligation. It’s a must-do throughout the year, so all your work yields a measurable payoff you can brag about.

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