7 Top Causes of (and Cures for) Benefits Stinkface

Mark Rader Benefits Communication

stinkface-copyRight around open enrollment season, many of the HR teams you deal with every day will start to notice that the normally cheerful employees they see walking around the office start displaying an unfortunate expression on their faces.

The cause? Benefits StinkFace.

It’s a problem that can lead to significant time-and money-loss for employees and their employers if not properly diagnosed and treated.

Benefits StinkFace manifests when employees feel confused, annoyed, or frustrated by the tasks they’re being asked to do–or the information they’re asked to understand–during open enrollment. What follows are the most common root causes, and their antidotes:

#1. Frustrating, confusing insurance jargon

If you and your clients just recycle the language the insurance company uses in benefits communications, you’ll alienate a good portion of the employees. Instead, within the limits set by compliance requirements, do your very best to translate any and all legalese or jargon into language you’d use when explaining something to a friend.

#2. Relentlessly boring benefits presentations

If your presentations are little more than a glorified data-dump on nearly identical slides, there’s a good chance your audience is going to sit there with their eyes glazed over.

To nip benefits presentation boredom in the bud, do the following:

  • Add visual content to at least every third slide.
  • Don’t be afraid to use small doses of humor and surprise.
  • Separate sections by color to make information easier for people to process and retain.
  • Ask fun pop quiz questions and hand out small prizes throughout as an incentive for paying attention.


Want tips 3-7? Read the full article at ThinkAdvisor now! (P.S. if it happens to be gated, try just typing “The 7 Top Causes of (and Cures for) Benefits Stinkface” into Google; that should get you there!)

Like this post? If so, check out a few other posts and eBooks about open enrollment communication you might like:

The Ultimate Open Enrollment Communication Playbook (eBook)

10 Fun Songs to Help You Survive Open Enrollment

6 Tips for Communicating Benefits to Millennials (eBook)

Beating Benefits Bewilderment (eBook)