Posted August 24, 2017
Open enrollment for insurance benefits is an excellent time for employers to engage employees and build relationships. While employees like the freedom to select their benefits coverage, they still rely on employers to help them make sense of the details.
Most employers agree that benefits communications should be a top priority, but often struggle to find the time and budget to support this goal. Instead, they share benefits updates only in the weeks and days before open enrollment. Don’t miss out on opportunities to connect with employees. Consider five ways to improve employee benefits communication.
Invest – Employees are your greatest asset, so it makes sense to invest in keeping them on the job. A quality benefits package can persuade employees to stay with their current employer. In fact, a recent survey shows that employees who believe employers care about their health and well-being are more engaged and satisfied at work.
Budget. Spending even one percent more on benefits communication can pay huge dividends in terms of higher enrollment, and happier, healthier employees. Develop a presentation for senior leadership to demonstrate the need, including:
- Cost of benefits versus employee turnover. Josh Bersin of Deloitte estimates that replacing an employee costs 1.5 to 2 times the job’s salary.
- Trends showing how often employees and their dependents use benefit plans and wellness programs.
- Impact of employee benefits, such as lower medical costs, fewer sick days or reduced turnover.
Plan – Connect employee benefits objectives to business goals with targeted strategies. If you want a higher percentage of employees to enroll in a high-deductible medical plan, explain the value of this choice, answer common questions upfront and share helpful facts.
- When preparing messages, identify themes and statistics that resonate with each employee demographic. Highlight how company benefits can fulfill their specific needs.
- Tell employees about changes in benefits and provide reasons they can easily understand. For example, if copays or premiums increase, let them know why. Open communication helps earn employee trust.
Survey – Ask employees for their preferred method of learning about benefits, such as:
- Employee meetings with insurance reps
- Company Intranet or third-party benefits website
- Social media posts
- Texts, voice messages or email reminders
- YouTube videos
- Printed benefits packets
This information will help you schedule and write messages for specific communication vehicles, so you can reach employees more effectively.
Announce – Several weeks before open enrollment, start announcing registration dates and share benefits highlights. Stress the value of new coverage choices, incentives and perks. Show a few examples of how each benefit works, so employees can start thinking about their coverage needs.
Review – Develop an annual calendar with specific topics and dates when benefits tips and reminders will be shared. Encourage employees to ask questions about their benefits and share answers in the next round of communications.