As we prepare for our annual enrollment materials, how should we plan to communicate in order for our efforts to be successful?
A recent study conducted by the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America shows that you better use more than one form of communication. Guardian’s study, Benefits & Behavior: Spotlight on the Benefits of an Employee-Centric Enrollment Experience found the following:
- 70 percent of employees who could receive enrollment information in their preferred channel said they were confident in their benefit selections versus 57 percent of those who did not.
- Workers want to receive benefits communications through multiple channels. In fact, 20 percent would like six or more options.
- 80 percent seek the ease and convenience of online enrollment so they can enroll where and when they choose. Nine in 10 workers who enrolled online were very satisfied with the experience.
- Employees who could get information and enroll through the channel they prefer are more likely to make more informed enrollment decisions, have a higher perceived value of their benefits and ultimately feel more satisfied with their benefits.
- Benefits satisfaction leads to greater loyalty and retention.
What can you do to ensure adequate communication?
- Use multiple channels to deliver your enrollment messages (e.g. online, email, text messages, manager speaking points, electronic message boards, video, group meetings, posters, home mailings, webinars, apps and social media). You have a lot of options at your fingertips. Think outside the box and get creative. Be sure to include channels that will reach the spouse, a key decision maker during enrollment.
- Make sure your enrollment messaging is clear, concise and consistent across all channels. Stick with three key points that you want to get across and hit them in every communication.
- If you do not have a benefits site on the internet, create one so the information is accessible by computer, smartphones or tablets. We’ve designed sites that house the annual enrollment information as well as a customized plan comparison tool. Once employees are prepared, they simply click on a link to take them to the enrollment transaction site. The benefits site is then updated and used throughout the year for new hires.
- Ask your employees which channels they prefer. You can add this question to your post-enrollment surveys.
Sadly, the Guardian study found that 63 percent of employers think their benefit communications are ineffective and 6 in 10 workers agree. What would your employees say? Remember, you may be the employer, but employees hold the remote in today’s multimedia world. Use multiple channels and your messages will get through.
A special thanks to Elizabeth Borton, President of Write On Target, for sharing her expertise with us. Sign-up on her website to receive future communication blogs at www.writetarget.com. Or, you can contact her with questions at EBorton@WriteTarget.com or 937.436.4565 at extension 28.
Nothing is more important to your employees than their Benefits. Make sure your employees get the information they need in a timely, concise and complete manner by communicating effectively. Strategic HR, inc. has years of experience writing for a targeted audience and creating communication plans that aim to accommodate a variety of communication styles. Visit our Communications page to learn how we can assist you with various communication-based projects.