Do’s & Don’ts of Benefits Communications

benefits communication for employee

It’s October. You’ve finally wrapped everything up with your benefits broker and are officially ready for open enrollment in January. But are your employees? Too often, we in the HR world are overly optimistic about employee engagement with benefits. We may send out an email with the updated information, but is it actually getting through to people?

Employees want benefits, and these perks are clearly important in attracting and retaining talented workers. However, that doesn’t mean your employees are on the edge of their seat anxiously waiting to read through all 200 pages of your company’s latest benefits statement. This can cause big problems for HR when employees keep running to them for benefits information, miss important deadlines, and constantly need to be walked through the enrollment process. So what can you do to ensure this enrollment season runs smoothly?

1. DO make sure your timing is right

Wondering what the “opportune moment” to communicate your employee benefits is? During the hiring process is the perfect time for a first conversation to set expectations. You don’t have to go too into detail and overwhelm your new hire. However, this is a great time to let them know what is available, and if there is a waiting period before your employee can access their benefits. Beyond that, the key is to start conversations early and often. Keep benefits front-of-mind and your team will be much more likely to actively participate when open enrollment rolls around!

2. DON’T choose just one channel

Unsure if you should email out benefits information or have an in-office seminar covering what’s available? Should you mail physical packets? Have one-on-one conversations? Or even put together a video series? The trick with communication channels is to make sure you’re providing the information where your employees will be looking for it. Do you have a group of tech-savvy millennials? A manufacturing team who may not have regular access to computers? Cater your communications to your people, and always communicate in more than one way!

3. DO make it easy

Between plan types, different carriers, and descriptions that might as well be in a foreign language, benefits communications are usually already difficult enough to understand. Where possible, use simple language to help clarify. Take into consideration your employees’ education levels, English proficiency (if you have a bilingual team), and reading comprehension. Make things easier on your employees by taking a little time to tailor your communications. Trust us, the results will be worth it!

4. DON’T store benefits information in your head

Do you want employees to keep coming to you with questions about your benefits plan? Probably not. So don’t let yourself be their only source of information! Anything your employees may want to know should be put in writing and made readily available. Once documented, give all of your employees a copy of your benefits handbook and an FAQ where they can find answers to the most common questions you get asked.

5. DO embrace technology

It’s the 21st century, so… Get online! Long gone are the days of flipping through paper packets and filling out enrollment forms by hand. If you haven’t already, seriously consider going digital. Depending on your resources and budget, you can use your company intranet or purchase a benefit administration software to do this. Otherwise, if you are an SDP client, you can incorporate Benefit Administration directly through SDPConnect. Employee self-service easily and seamlessly allows your team to make benefit elections and review plan materials–all from within their employee portal!

6. DON’T set it and forget it

Let’s be honest–once you’re past the job hunting stage, benefits can get kind of boring. Especially if it feels like no changes are happening or current procedures aren’t working. So instead of having a “set it and forget it” mentality, regularly revisit your procedures. Check in with your team to see what’s working and which areas could be improved. By keeping things fresh and reiterating information in different ways, you’ll help foster a better appreciation and understanding of what is available.

7. DO provide a lifeline

Last but not least, give your employees an outlet for additional questions. Where can they go to get help or find more information? Make sure to let them know any websites, contacts, and other resources that are available to them. This will tremendously decrease your workload as well as put your employees at ease knowing that they know where to go if an issue arises.

What do you think?

What has been your experience with benefits communications? Comment below to let us know what has (or hasn’t!) worked for your organization. Interested in getting a demo of our benefit administration platform within SDPConnect? Simply fill out this online form to set one up today! And don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn to make sure you never miss a beat!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

, , ,

Related Posts