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Boost Your Message: 4 Steps to Improve Employee Benefits Communications

Posted by Madalyn Altschuler, Regional Manager, Client Programs on January 22, 2018 at 10:00 AM

benefits communications.jpgAre you ready to make 2018 the year your company delivers the most effective and engaging employee benefits communication materials possible? If your answer is YES, then keep on reading.

With support from your MMA team, you can knock out these four steps and really wow your employees.

1. CONDUCT AN OPEN ENROLLMENT REVIEW

Open Enrollment is one time each year you REALLY expect your employees to pay attention and think about their benefits decision for the upcoming plan year. As you reflect on if your open enrollment was a success (and hopefully not a complete flop), consider asking yourself the following questions:

-           How well did we utilize technology to deliver our open enrollment message?

-           Did we effectively spotlight important new topics for employees, such as our new wellness program, new plan options, or new voluntary benefits? 

-           Were our employees well-informed on the enrollment process and have minimal issues?

-           Did we set attendance goals for our Open Enrollment Meetings? If so, were they met?

After reviewing your most recent Open Enrollment, you’ll be better equipped to modify your process for the upcoming year to yield better results.

2. GATHER EMPLOYEE FEEDBACK

According to industry experts Benz Communications, employees who believe that their employer cares about their health and well-being are 38% more engaged, 28% more likely to recommend their workplace, and 17% more likely to still be working at their current employer in one year [1]. 

Whether it be through focus groups or surveys, taking the time to gather feedback will help you understand how well your employees are engaging in their benefits communications and what aspects of the communication process could be improved. For example, do your employees feel your current communication channels are sufficient? Are employees in need of more communication or different communication mediums?  Not only is this step valuable to you, but also makes your employees feel appreciated and heard. You may be surprised what will come from it!

3. ESTABLISH MEASURABLE GOALS FOR THE UPCOMING YEAR

Now that you have conducted your Open Enrollment review and gathered employee feedback, you will have a better understanding of what needs to be accomplished in the upcoming plan year. Set realistic, actionable, and measurable goals to keep your team and messaging on track.

Your goals will be unique to your company and culture, but here are a couple of examples to inspire you:

  • Increase employee engagement through benefits education. Look at your engagement percentage now and determine a new number you’d like to reach for.
  • Increase open and read rates for digital communication. If your current open rate to employees is 25%, maybe consider stretching that to 35% and implementing some new strategies to drive better open and read rates including incorporating memes, infographics, videos, and other forms of engaging communication.
  • Improve adoption of new tools and resources. We know it can be challenging for employees to change their ways and informing them of new tools and resources can be a challenge in itself. Mix up how you communicate about these new tools to your employees, that way it’s coming at them from different angles.

4. CREATE AND FOLLOW THROUGH ON YOUR STRATEGY

Your benefits communications goals are set and now it’s time to bring them to life.  Create a strategy that will support your goals.  Strategies we have helped our clients with in the past include:

  • Establish a communication plan for each quarter: According to a survey conducted by Health Advocate, 41% of employees are concerned about infrequent communication about benefits [2]. It’s important to keep your employees engaged year-round with their benefits rather than just during Open Enrollment.  Deliver communications, at the very least, once a quarter.
  • Use personalized communication: As 58% of employees seek customized benefits options based on their personal information [3], why not take that extra step to make sure the way you communicate with them is personalized? Use your understanding of different employee demographics such as location of office, tenure, and job type to provide tailored messaging.
  • Target multiple communication channels: Are your existing communication channels doing the job? Perhaps your current communication methods could be expanded to include a more digital approach, as 60% of employees prefer to receive information about company benefits electronically. [4]

Your MMA Team can assist you in accomplishing your company’s benefits communications goals. Reach out to your local MMA representative to learn more.

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[1] Benz, J. (2017). The value of investing in benefits communication. 3-3. Retrieved December 22, 2017, from http://marketing.benzcommunications.com/acton/attachment/20457/f-00e3/1/-/-/-/-/The%20value%20investing%20in%20benefits%20comms%20white%20paper.pdf

[2] Advocate, H. (2016). 73% of Employees Want to Talk Benefits with People, Not Apps. 1-1. Retrieved Nov. & dec., 2017, from http://www.healthadvocate.com/_mobile/downloads/communications-pdfs/b2b/Web_2016.pdf

[3] MetLife. (2017). Work Redefined: A New Age of Benefits. 35-35. Retrieved Nov. & Dec., 2017, from https://benefittrends.metlife.com/media/1382/2017-ebts-report_0320_exp0518_v2.pdf

[4] The 2017 ALEX Benefits. (2017, March 17). Retrieved from https://www.meetalex.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/2017-ALEX-Survey-Report.pdf

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