We’ve been shouting it from the rooftops for years now — benefits communication has become much more than a one-and-done campaign at open enrollment. It’s a year-round strategy, with the goal of meeting employees where they are, with the information they need to make more informed healthcare decisions.
But benefits awareness and understanding is still low across the board, which is especially unfortunate as employers are investing more than ever in their benefits packages to support employees through a challenging era.
So where should HR teams and benefits consultants start? Let’s get back to basics, with five business communication examples you can use to promote benefits information with employees.
1. Now’s the time to start texting
This one may seem obvious, but texting employees (about their benefits or in general) is surprisingly uncommon. In fact, recent conversations with Jellyvision customers revealed that only 15% of employers planned to make texting a part of their benefits communications strategy this year.
Why is texting such a good idea? First, it’s a short, actionable communication channel where you can send easy links to important resources and benefits to-dos. Plus, our employees are now texting more than they use the internet, and they’re more likely to open a text than they are an email:
Not sure where to start? Services like ALEX, Text Request, Simple Texting, and Twilio, and TextUs will help you message employees about their benefits. And don’t forget, shorter is better — the best-performing texts are under 140 characters.
2. Send shorter emails
Ahhhh, email…the age-old communication channel beloved by benefits pros everywhere. If you’re like most HR pros, you’re likely already sending benefits emails to employees on a regular basis. Hopefully that means you won’t have to reinvent the wheel on this one.
But we do have one tip for you here, and that’s: shorten your messaging. It can be really tempting to send out one big ole’ email with all of your benefits resources linked, but the reality is, we’re no longer wired to ingest our information this way. With that in mind:
- Keep your emails short. 5-7 sentences: that’s it!
- Send more emails, with bite-sized pieces of information each time.
You stand a better chance of your employees understanding all the different programs and tools you offer them if you sprinkle your benefits promotion over the course of a month (or year). For example, a great open enrollment campaign could be:
Email 1: Heads up! Open enrollment starts next week (with a calendar invite)
Email 2: New benefits highlight! Check out these new resources available to you.
Email 3: Need help choosing the right benefits? Talk to ALEX!
6 simple ways to improve your open enrollment emails to employees
3. Refresh your print materials
Are print materials the most modern benefits communication tool? No. But are they sometimes a necessary evil, especially if you’re working in an office environment or with workers who don’t have access to a company email address? Absolutely.
But promoting your benefits offerings with print materials doesn’t have to be boring. Everyone likes to see something new, so make sure you’re regularly refreshing your materials to catch employees’ attention.
And we’re here to help! ALEX Central has tons of new promotional resources for Jellyvision customers, like posters and postcards. And even if you’re not a customer, you can download our benefits marketing templates to use with your own employees.
4. Make your hybrid benefits meetings engaging
We’re not going to coach you through how to run a virtual benefits presentation. We’ve been in this pandemic for 18 months, so you all are experts by now. But the key message here is to keep it engaging — both for the folks at home and in-person.
Zoom fatigue is REAL. So remind employees that cameras are optional at the beginning of your meetings. But remember, there’s a flip side to that coin: with video off, people tend to tune out. So make it fun: insert some benefits trivia or audience questions, and ask people to use Zoom reactions to interact.
It’s also important to provide employees with an easy place to ask questions. Use a Slack channel or the video conferencing chat, and assign a moderator to filter through the responses and pose questions live on the call. If your meeting is hybrid, you want to make sure that your virtual folks have an outlet to feel heard.
And we know—it can be hard to get employees to come to benefits meetings. So incentivize attendance with giveaways and perks. Enter attendees in a raffle to win a $10 gift card, or hand out some free swag. Everyone loves free stuff.
Want more benefits presentation tips? Check out our blog post below.
How to nail your open enrollment presentation: a guide for HR teams
5. Make the most of your digital platforms
As a last bit of reinforcement, use your company’s digital real estate to promote your benefits messages. If your employees visit your benefits portal or company intranet on the regular, posting banner ads is super useful — and it’s a good alternative to the physical signage you might normally use in your office.
If you go this route, here are a few pro tips:
- Repetition can also apply to imagery. So try re-using the same themes, motifs, and imagery from other visually-driven communication (benefits guides, postcards, etc.).
- Consider using free tools like Canva, Snappa, and DesignBold to build the ads, if you don’t have design resources handy.
- Make sure your ad has a strong “call to action.” A call to action is what you want your employee to do (“Attend the webinar.” “Talk to ALEX.” “Enroll today!”).
- Be sure to use these these ads in company emails or incorporate them into email signatures
- And in terms of timing, give yourself a month or so to get these made — just to be safe — and then share them at least 2 weeks before open enrollment starts.
We have a few freebie templates you can use to create your own intranet ads too! Download them here.
Whew! Benefits communication certainly isn’t as simple as it used to be. But with a little organization, a few modern business communication tools and a year-round strategy, we can finally help employees understand and use their benefits packages to their full potential. And if you’re overwhelmed or need help, we’re always here! Connect with our team if you’d like to talk about taking your benefits engagement strategy to the next level this year.