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Avoid a Benefits Communication Breakdown with These 3 Tips

Avoid a Benefits Communication Breakdown with These 3 Tips
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2018 by Rae Shanahan
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Communication-01Did you make year-round benefits communications one of your New Year’s resolutions only to realize it’s already April…and you haven’t started yet?

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If this rings a bell, you’re likely not alone. A well-conceived and well-executed ongoing communications and education plan is something many organizations aspire to. But, there’s often a disconnect between what’s on the wish list, and what’s able to make it on to the to-do list. Don’t feel bad, we’ve all been there.

But, this is a goal to make a priority. After all, you’re spending a lot of resources on benefits — doesn’t it make sense to ensure your employees are as engaged as possible, and can understand their benefits and use them wisely? Sending a flurry of benefits information once a year during Annual Enrollment isn’t really the way to achieve those objectives. You’re not doing anything wrong, you’re just not getting the most bang for your benefits buck. 

The good news: Just because you didn’t start 2018 with a full calendar of benefits communications doesn’t mean it’s too late. After all, we’re only a quarter through the year, which means you still have 75% of the opportunity to communicate that you had on January 1. Your benefits communication glass is still three-quarters full!

Here are three options for you to start delivering helpful benefits content that’s relevant all year round. 

  1. Think seasonal. With spring in the air, you can message employees on a topic related to the warm (or soon-to-be warm) weather. Now’s the time of year when many people are outside more. They may be gardening or starting to do improvements around the house–offer some tips around how to avoid mishaps. You can also encourage healthy behaviors, like taking advantage of the longer days to start walking or biking.

    If you go the seasonal route, you only need to send out 4 messages in any year to meet your goal! Come on, you can do that, right?

  2. Pick something topical. Almost every day or month has something associated with it. For example, April is National Financial Literacy Month. May is Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. August is National Immunization Awareness Month. You get the picture. You don’t have to communicate each month, but you could pick a few for the year – maybe every other month or once a quarter — and focus on those, tying it back to some aspect of your benefits package.

Personalizing it to your organization’s specific experience makes these messages even more powerful. Dig into your claims experience for stats around things like how many employees get certain important health screenings. If the numbers are below average, you can challenge employees to help you move the needle.

  1. Tack it on to Annual Enrollment. You are going to communicate around Annual Enrollment anyway, so why not extend what you’re already doing? You can start slow and just commit to two additional touches. It could be something leading up to Annual Enrollment, like pulling out messaging about an upcoming change and creating a standalone email or print piece. (Postcards work great for this.) Then, add one AE follow-up. Or, do two AE follow-ups. Tips like when new ID cards are coming, or a reminder if no ID cards will be sent, keep benefits top-of-mind for employees.

You don’t have to issue a drum beat of benefits communications throughout the year to raise the bar on engaging employees. But, you do have to do more than Annual Enrollment. If you’re not, you’re missing a great opportunity to help employees understand the value of their benefits.

Pick one of the tips from the list above and make 2018 the year you own this!

Look for more ideas about what to communicate and when in our e-book below. 

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