Most of Your Employees are Ignoring You: 3 Tips to Get Their Attention
Posted on Monday, April 3, 2017 by Rae Shanahan
You’re spending time and money to plan, provide, and promote your benefits, but guess what? Your employees aren’t paying attention.
No need for a spoiler alert, because apparently you already knew that. The International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans reveals that 80% of plan sponsors admit their employees aren’t reading communications materials. So, you know there’s a problem. What you may not be sure about, though, is what to do.
When I feel stuck with an issue, I think about how to shake things up, expand my ideas, color outside the lines. That’s exactly what IFEBP is encouraging all of us to do today for National Employee Benefits Day: Color outside the lines – literally and figuratively – to boost employee engagement with benefits communication. Not just today, or during Annual Enrollment, but all year round.
In addition to the great tools and resources IFEBP offers, here are three strategies I’ve learned along the way that can help:
Be a nuisance. It takes seven times to receive a message before it’s effectively retained, so you have to stay in front of employees all year. There are natural touch points on the calendar when you can offer bite-sized benefits information so that it feels engaging – rather than overwhelming – to employees. (Want some quick inspiration? Check out this short e-book.) This just-in-time communication approach starts to feel more natural the more you use it, for you and your workforce. But it’s much more effective at driving employee action – and much more fun.
Be vanilla (with your words, at least). No, I’m not suggesting that you make benefits communication boring – far from it! But I would like to gently remind that most of your employees won’t immediately understand an HSA if you explain it as a “tax-advantaged savings account to fund payments for qualified medical expenses.” Instead, why not simply frame the account as a “tax-free way to save and pay for healthcare?” Plain English (or whatever translation is appropriate for your workers) tends to be easiest and best for all involved. Keep your message simple and always include a clear call to action. Also, think about engaging ways to educate employees about their benefits, such as interactive, in-person sessions or videos, games, or infographics.
Be easy to find. It’s all too common for benefits plans to be spread out across multiple platforms (each with different login/password requirements) making it difficult for employees to fully access – let alone understand – their benefit options. Creating a “one-stop-shop” that’s accessible to employees and family members is a great way to break down barriers to make using benefits easier and more efficient. Providing easy-to-use resources will also give employees the confidence they need to make benefits decisions.