Do you have a plan in place that delivers ongoing communication to your employees about their benefits?
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
But research is telling us that it’s more important than ever before.
It may feel time consuming and burdensome, but an employee communication strategy is one of the most effective ways to show your employees you value them, and in turn, reduce turnover and contain healthcare costs.
Studies report that employees who receive ongoing, effective communication about their benefits value those benefits more highly than those who don’t.
In fact, 56% of millennials want their employers to communicate about benefits in a way that’s easier to understand (2014 GuideSpark study).
But employers are challenged with explaining benefits in a simple way and getting employees to take action.
According to the 2017 SourceMedia Research survey, 70% of employers struggle to prepare their communications strategies for open enrollment periods.
So here’s 6 steps to creating and monitoring an effective employee communications strategy that will help streamline the success of your employee benefits program.
- Know what benefits your organization provides and how they work:
- Make an inventory of dates, contracts and other administrative information for all contracts and plans.
- Create or utilize a comparison of benefits features and costs for each plan you offer.
- Consider your benefits documents from varying perspectives, such as the company lawyer, a judge and jury, employees, employees’ beneficiaries and the press.
- Know how your employees feel about your benefit program:
- Ask them how they feel and let them know you are sincere in your desire to know and meet their needs.
- Analyze reports from your providers.
- Study actuarial and provider research.
- Understand benefits communication responsibilities and organize yourself:
- Develop a plan that includes required, as well as optional communications that may be helpful.
- Keep employees and beneficiaries informed of changes to their benefits, and explain confusing terms and features of the plans.
- Prepare your benefits communication plan of action:
- Determine who will prepare your benefit communications and the costs involved.
- Construct a data sheet to be used for planning, preparing and delivering your communications.
- Designate responsibilities for the preparation of each communication. Be sure to consider both internal and external assistance.
- Communicating remotely with a doctor is a primary function of telemedicine. With this technology, doctors can reach patients in remote, rural and underserved areas where there might not be an available doctor or hospital. Through telemedicine, patients can access doctors for routine visits, emergency care or diagnostics from a specialist.
- Select, prepare and distribute communications to fit corporate objectives and employee needs:
- Target segments of employees who would profit most from specific features of a benefit by sending tailored communications.
- Decide what type of communication will be most appropriate for relaying messages to employees.
- Determine who will manage the production process of writing, editing and designing communications.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of your benefits communications:
- Survey employees and provide feedback surveys.
- Establish and monitor indicators of behavior after communications are distributed.
- Revise your communications to meet realistic goals and expectations, your employees’ needs, your communication plan objectives and your organization’s requirements.
What kind of content will you put out to your employees about their benefits?
So now that the roadmap is there for you to develop your employee communications strategy, let’s talk about what kind of content you will put out to your employees about their benefits.
For many employers, if they’re sending out employee communications they’re likely putting out content that’s difficult for employees to understand and relate to.
And the result…
Employees aren’t seeing the value in what employers are offering them.
Which is why communicating content in a variety of formats like videos, articles, infographics and more is important to ensure your message is being conveyed.
Here’s some topics to consider when organizing and/or creating content:
- Health Savings Accounts
- Preventive Care
- Open Enrollment
- Mental Health and Stress Management
- Workplace Wellness
- Core Voluntary Benefits
- Disease Management
- Nontraditional Voluntary Benefits
- Diet and Nutrition
- Financial Wellness
- Cyber Security
- Fitness and Exercise
Developing and implementing an effective communications strategy for your employees is critical to the success of your group benefits plan.
But that’s not to say creating this strategy is a walk in the park…
Creating content is time-consuming, and dispersing that content across different mediums and channels to get in front of your employees is not easy.
Which is where we can step in…
My name is Ty Reid, and I’m the Director of Worksite Benefits here at The O’Neill Group, a risk management and insurance firm in Wadsworth, Ohio.
I’d love the opportunity to review your benefits plan, discuss an employee communications strategy and provide for you a variety of employee communications content to disperse to your employees.
Let’s talk. Click here to schedule a call.
This article was adapted from Zywave. This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.