The ability to gain more flexibility and better benefits were among the key reasons individuals gave for leaving their employer in 2021. In fact, 43 percent of workers surveyed in a recent Pew Research study said they quit their job specifically because “benefits, such as health insurance and paid time off, were not good.”
Fortunately, the upcoming open enrollment season gives you a prime opportunity to remind employees of the valuable benefits you offer that can help them achieve the greater work-life balance they may be seeking.
Maximizing communications with Employees:
An effective communications strategy will not only provide the information your workers need to make educated decisions about their benefits, but it can also help boost appreciation for the options you offer and increase engagement and retention.
Best practices that can help guide your communication efforts during the upcoming open enrollment period:
Sending a couple of emails about open enrollment deadlines and other information isn’t enough given today’s diverse workforce that has different preferences for receiving and responding to communications. Burdened with short staffs and heavy workloads, employees will need fair warning (and ongoing reminders) so they can schedule time to review their options, discuss changes with family members, and attend or log in to information sessions. Reaching out multiple times on a regular basis can help make sure open enrollment doesn’t pass them by.
Highlight program changes or benefits employees may be interested in at this time. For example, are there new offerings for mental health or enhancements to wellness and dependent care options? Not only are these types of benefits top-of-mind for employees now, but they are the perks that sometimes go untapped or unnoticed. So, reminders and messages that draw attention to them are more likely to be appreciated.
Keep it simple
No matter what your message is, make sure it’s clear, concise, and free of insurance jargon. Research from benefits technology provider, Businessolver, indicates that 86 percent of employees are confused about benefits. And less than one in five says they understand their benefits. Breaking down information into bite-sized nuggets will help ensure your communications won’t overwhelm or further add to their confusion.
Communicate these 5 things clearly & often
- Deadline for making elections
- New offerings for health and wellness benefits
- Step-by-step instructions for selecting benefits
- Answers to commonly asked questions
- Contact information to get more details
Create multiple touchpoints
Given today’s remote, hybrid, and in-person work arrangements, an effective communications strategy can incorporate a number of different tactics that can serve to keep employees informed and engaged. Using an integrated mix of targeted emails, text messages, newsletters, postcards, brochures, and posters can all work together to ensure you reach employees with the right message, at the right time, regardless of where they are located.
Leverage the power of digital video and webinars
Creating a series of short videos or recorded webinars can guide your employees through the open enrollment process, show them how to compare benefits, calculate costs, and sign up. Plus, each one can be housed on your company intranet or online portal so that your employees can watch them when its most convenient or view them again if they need more details.
Offer personal, one-to-one assistance
A recent Justworks/Harris Poll, revealed that American workers do not know where to turn to get answers to their benefits questions.
- 72% said they wish someone would tell them what the best health insurance is for their specific situation
- 44% were uncomfortable asking their human resources contact about enrolling in health insurance
- 62% reported they don’t change their benefit elections from year to year because the process is too stressful
Given this sentiment, consider offering an open line with your benefits broker so that employees have the option of asking questions about their personal situation privately without having to worry about disclosing a health condition or mental health issue in an email, online session with other employees, or during a group forum.
Updating your communications strategy to include some (or all) of these tips can help employees feel more comfortable during open enrollment, avoid possible mistakes, and empower them to make the best possible benefits choices for their families.
Want more tips to optimize open enrollment communications?
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. BRP Group, Inc. and its affiliates, do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult with your own tax, legal or accounting professionals before engaging in any transaction.