If you’re putting together your benefits communication strategy for the year, you might have an idea of what you’d like to share with your employees—but sometimes figuring out the how and when can be a challenge.
And when we’re stumped, we like to turn to the experts and take a page out of their book. (After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?) That’s why we’re sharing some of the most creative ways to communicate employee benefits that we’ve seen from a few leading HR teams.
There’s not one magical formula that works for every company, but there are a few tactics that appear again and again in our most successful customers’ campaigns—the companies that have really nailed employee engagement. Let’s jump in.
Tactic #1: Go virtual
From virtual open enrollment to communicating with your employees year-round, technology is your friend. And especially now that we’re emerging from a global pandemic, a benefits guidance tool is the key to educating hard-to-reach employees who might be working from home more often now.
Not only will a benefits guidance platform save your HR team time and money, but it’ll drive your employees towards smarter decision-making—through behavioral science and personalized recommendations. Plus, it’s available 24/7, and offers benefits information when employees are already engaged—so you won’t have to worry about frantic end-of-the-day phone calls from confused employees.
A success story:
- Loyola University saved 140 hours/year and reduced employee benefits by 50% when they switched to ALEX. They also eliminated paper benefits education materials and lunch and learns altogether.
Tactic #2. Get company “influencers” to vouch for new initiatives
We’ve long preached on the power of company influencers to get your benefits messages to more people. When benefits promotion comes from a wide variety of faces and voices within the company, it’s more effective than HR-only messaging.
Reach out to your CEO or other respected leaders. Ask them to send an email or a quick smartphone video, or give a presentation on your behalf. Give your managers talking points to share in their weekly meetings with their teams, both before and during open enrollment.
And your employees are more likely to trust an endorsement from a peer, so never underestimate the value testimonials from your rank and file employees. Include those testimonials in your benefits guides, on your intranet, or wherever they’re most likely to see the most traffic.
Some success stories:
- An electronics manufacturing company with 12,000 eligible employees built a wide internal champion team to help them spread the word about ALEX and their new HSA. The result: they saw 99% usage of ALEX and 60% of their employees choose an HSA, crushing their goal of 50% utilization and 40% HSA conversion.
- A clothing retailer with 900 eligible employees had the company’s top brass personally share the ALEX demo with their management teams, and those managers then shared it with their own teams. The result: a 117% usage rate. (Usage can exceed 100% when employees’ partners visit ALEX or employees visit ALEX more than once.)
- A financial institution with 2,100 eligible employees saw a boost in usage after an employee in their IT department who used to work in benefits sent an email to the company saying “This is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Tactic #3: Use a wide range of communication channels
Yes, going virtual is one important step in reaching today’s employees. But one message does not fit all, and one channel isn’t enough. We recommend reaching employees in a variety of ways, wherever those employees spend the most time (in the office or online).
Some success stories:
- A consumer products company with 5,500 eligible employees got out the word about ALEX with webinars, on-site meetings, emails, intranet messaging, and a unique HR microsite. And because employees’ spouses were often a part of the benefits decision-making, they added a series of communications sent to employees’ homes for good measure. The result: a 99% ALEX usage rate and 24% HSA enrollment (more than doubling their goal of 11%).
- A manufacturing company with 2,500 eligible employees spread the word about ALEX by using our Benefits Sneak Peek video before open enrollment, a multi-touch email campaign, fliers, posters, newsletter articles, five-foot-tall standees, digital signage, and table tents. The result: a 108% usage rate, and the HR team received 200 fewer phone calls that year (despite adding two other new vendors, changing their prescription structure, and adding a medical plan).
- A bank with 2,900 eligible employees promoted ALEX with emails, messages shared on the company’s internal social networking service, postcards sent to employees’ homes, newsletters and more. The result: a whopping 175% usage rate.
Tactic #4: Add a dash of delight to your messaging
Humor is the not-so-secret ingredient we bake into ALEX. Many of our customers find that adding a little levity to benefits communication grabs more eyeballs and makes the eyeball-owners a little more receptive to their messaging.
A success story:
- The HR team at a private vacation ownership company hosted a “Breakfast with Benefits,” offering free breakfast and free information about ALEX and open enrollment. The result: the event drew far more people than previous “office hours” events, inspired other offices to do the same, and contributed to a 108% ALEX usage rate (forever proving the persuasive power of breakfast).
That’s all we’ve got! If you’re struggling to come up with creative ways to communicate employee benefits this year, go ahead and steal a few of these ideas from our customers. We’re sure they won’t mind.