Communicating employee benefits and wellness programs can feel like pulling teeth. It’s incredibly challenging for benefits professionals to get their employees to a) listen b) care c) understand.
One of the most important things companies can improve to deliver better benefits communication is target who their messages go to. Blasting flyer upon flyer, email upon email to your entire population when it only applies to some people is a surefire way to get tuned out quickly. You’re wasting the limited opportunity you have to capture your employee’s attention.
While most companies don’t have the resources to custom tailor every message they send out, there are a number of simple things you can do to dramatically improve the process of communicating employee benefits.
1. Ask people what they want to hear about
This may be a BFO (“blinding flash of the obvious”) but the easiest way to target message is to ask people what they want to receive.
Conduct a brief survey and ask employees what topics they’re interested in. You can draw on this list of interests for newsletters, lunch n’ learn topics, etc. so you’re not shooting blindly when coming up with wellness activities.
2. Communicating employee benefits through multiple channels
We all consume information in different ways. Think about just the way we choose to read the news. While some people prefer to sit at the breakfast table with the daily paper, others might catch up with the latest on cnn.com or even just skim Twitter for the latest headlines.
Communicating employee benefits is really no different than communicating anything else. One channel is always going to fall short of reaching your entire audience. Experiment with different media – mailers, emails, lunch n’ learns, microblogging – to appeal to a broader group.
Few benefits professionals have the time and resources to distribute every message on every channel – but by using a variety of media, you’ll at least introduce some variety and give everyone a little something to latch on to.
3. Use enrollment data to target your messaging
You’re sitting on a vast amount of data gathered in enrollment. Why not use it?
You can target communications based off of demographic features (like life stage or career needs) or what benefits offerings employees are enrolled in to avoid sharing redundant or irrelevant information.
For example, if someone didn't take the company's Health Risk Assessment and missed out on the incentives, they could receive a different message than someone who participates every year. You can only capture so much of your employee's attention with your communications. Make sure it is relevant to them before sending.
4. Use “personas” for communicating benefits
One strategy is to develop several “personas” that describe your typical employee sub-populations. For example, Persona #1 could describe the recent batch of college grads you just hired, while another persona could describe the older employees preparing for retirement.
With your employee population bucketed into these personas, develop communications around how each group could take advantage of all of the available benefits offerings, speaking to their needs and life stage.
Although you don’t necessarily need to, you can name these personas and use them in your communications. Employees like hearing from “someone like me” when making decisions about benefits.
Developing a strategy for communicating employee benefits at YOUR company
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when in comes to communicating employee benefits. The solution that works best for your company will depend on your employees, your plan and your culture.
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