Benefits programs are a huge investment at every company, impacting the lives of employees and their families by providing access to retirement, insurance and care. Yet, 80% of organizations report that their employees don’t open or read their benefits information materials.
“Research indicates that when employees understand their benefits, it creates tremendous value for the organization as a whole,” said Megan Yost, Senior Vice President and Engagement Strategist at Segal Benz. “Employees are more likely to trust leadership, to feel empowered to contribute, and to be satisfied with their job.”
To ensure the company can get return on its benefits’ investment and cultivate trust throughout the organization, its leadership must invest time and energy into communications strategies that engage employees year-round and effectively demonstrate how the resources can have a direct and positive impact on their lives.
Below, Segal experts offer 10 keys to designing a communications plan to ensure your organization’s getting the most bang for its benefits.
To learn more on this topic and empower your organizations’ people-focused initiatives, attend the ATC Leadership Dinner sponsored by Segal, “Unlocking Successful Benefits Communication,” Thursday, May 18, 5-8 p.m. at Z’Tejas. Register here.
1) Have a Strategy
Your communications strategy doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated, but it must focus on people. People are at the heart of your organization and the reason you’ve chosen to adopt a quality benefits plan, so sharing details of those plans with them requires understanding their needs, how you can support them, how to reach them, and how you should continue and update that communications cycle every year in ways that engage all of your employees and their families.
2) Brand Your Benefits
Internal communications should be as easily recognized as coming from your company as its external communications. So, work to align your benefits communications with your company brand consistently across all communications channels to create cohesive communications experiences and build trust between employees and the organization.
3) Launch a Website
Creating a website to host your benefits information creates a one-stop-shop for employees and their families to learn about and manage their benefits, in a space that is easily modified and updated.
4) Ask for Feedback
In order to create better solutions for your employees, it is essential to listen to them. Conduct surveys, interviews and focus groups to find out how your employees are interacting with their benefits plans and the experiences they’ve gained from it.
5) Keep it Simple
The National Assessment of Adult Literacy found that 12% of adults have proficient health literacy, so designing a communications plan around your benefits package that is free of jargon and easily digestible is essential in helping your employees manage their health.
6) Don’t Stop Communicating
The most successful communications strategies are multi-channel and engaging year-round. Don’t wait until open enrollment to promote your benefits programs. Instead, showcase different aspects of the program throughout the year in ways that attract attention and drive action.
7) Target Your Messages
Benefits programs are designed for large, diverse groups, but getting individuals within those groups to use them requires specific messaging. Target messaging requires you to hone in on your employees needs and understand how you are uniquely positioned to help them.
8) Understand the Employee Experience
As the employer, you are a choice architect and have tremendous ability to influence employees’ actions. So, design your communications plans in ways that help employees eliminate confusion and make the right choice.
9) Don’t let budget hold you back
After developing your multi-channel, multi-faceted and continuous communications strategy, evaluate the budget you’ll need to effectively implement it and don’t hold back. Talent will come and stay if it believes the company is putting in the work and energy to take care of them.
10) Find Partners
Like most offices or departments, HR and benefits teams may be stretched too thin to design and implement an effective communications strategy. So, lean on others for help. Utilize the organizations internal communications teams or hire one-time external support to help kick your strategy into gear.