Employee benefits continue to remain high on the list of priorities when it comes to choosing a job. But many companies still struggle to effectively communicate and inform employees about their benefits. It’s no secret that a connected, engaged workforce is critical to organizational success, so it’s crucial for leaders to enable their people with information and connection in the workplace. An employee benefits communication strategy can help reduce turnover and reduce the high costs of replacing employees.
The why behind employee benefits communications
Atop employee complaint about their employers’ benefits program is that communications are too infrequent. And that’s only half of the equation. Other obstacles include feeling overloaded with irrelevant information, as well as disengaged and isolated from the organization. Thoughtful workplace communications help employees understand the value of their benefits and keep them informed on the latest company news. More than that, a successful employee communications ensures that employees feel included and appreciated as a part of their company’s vision, and can also help increase employee benefits utilization.
Structuring your communications plan relies on building a strategy that works for your organization. Whatever approach your company takes, give your people the simplicity they want, the information they need and the connection that’s great for your company culture.
By adopting a solid benefits communication plan, HR organizations will:
Quickly customize messages and distribute information to the right groups of people
Engage the workforce in a timely fashion, just in time with reminders on required actions
Streamline cumbersome processes such as getting critical receipt confirmations, efficiently gathering feedback or answering questions
Save time for everyone involved
Read on for strategies and ideas you need to build a plan that works for your organization.
4 Tips to build an effective employee benefits communication plan
1. Develop a comprehensive communications plan
Start by identifying your key audiences — your full-time, part-time, field-based and remote employees. Next, develop key messages for each audience. Effective communications work best when they are clear, specific and easy to understand. Just as important, make sure your messages are helpful, and tell employees where to find benefit and enrollment information.
2. Distribute messages early and often
Set expectations early by sending out frequent timeline notices and pending changes to plans, so employees will be ready and can start planning. The needs of employees change throughout the year — new employees enter the workforce, personal situations change, older employees retire. Year-round messages and reminders give employees the access and prompts they need to make necessary changes throughout the year.
3. Choose the best communication channels for your audience
What channels do you use to communicate in your company? Take inventory of all the channels and determine the best ways to reach every employee or their preferred methods. Multiple touch points work best in benefits communication, so be sure to inventory all methods available.
4. Reach all employees
Having employees in dispersed locations complicates benefits communication — especially for large employers. Because job functions and locations vary greatly, select communications channels that will enable you to reach all employees. Your office-based employees will have instant access, but your deskless employees in hospitals, retail locations or warehouses, for example, won’t. To communicate with these hard-to-reach employees, leverage mobile technology to directly communicate benefits changes and open enrollment announcements, and to receive important confirmations or conduct polls & surveys.