During Jellyvision’s Engage 2022, industry leaders shared their expertise on how to reinvigorate benefits strategies for the challenging year ahead. One session in particular offered helpful advice for taking benefits communication to the next level through targeted messaging, employee engagement, and virtual events.
25. Customize messaging for your audience. The segments of your employee population have different benefits needs. Your messaging to them should be targeted accordingly. Baby Boomers want to hear about medical benefits, retirement savings, and making the transition out of the workforce. Generation X seeks information about retirement savings, childcare, and work-life balance. Millennials are looking for financial support (student loan repayment or tuition reimbursement), flexible schedules, and volunteer opportunities. Generation Z also wants financial support, as well as opportunities to take initiative to gain work experience and support social causes.
“When we talk about different communication channels, think about which platforms each generation prefers. Social media or mobile apps for Gen Z. Texts, emails, Slack for Millennials. Email for Gen X. In-person or over the phone for Baby Boomers.”
26. Use employee resource groups. Formal and informal employee groups are great for spreading the word about benefits resources – especially if those groups are treated as a safe space where workers know they can chat in confidence, Bergman said. This essentially serves as “organic marketing” for benefits such as mental health support, and it increases engagement and adoption since employees hear firsthand from their coworkers about how benefits worked for them.
“We know we’re doing something right, because we’re seeing organic marketing happen. In our Whole Self Employee Resource Group Slack channel, employees are referring one another to these [mental health] resources. It’s not all coming from our team—they’re actually telling each other about these solutions. And other ERGs are referring their members to our [mental health] solutions, too.”
27. Host a virtual benefits fair. This takes the benefits presentation webinar to the next level. Basically, it’s a virtual conference, with “booths” for partners to share resources and host one-on-one chats and a “general session room” for employees to watch live and on-demand presentations. Bergman said Zendesk plans to build on the success of the inaugural benefits fair by using the same format in future years – and leveraging a revamped format for new hire orientation as well as benefits events outside of open enrollment such as Financial Literacy Month. (This is also a great example of supporting a year-round benefits communication strategy.)
28. Include the whole family. Benefits are a family affair. Wherever possible, you should include partners and other benefits decision-makers in the process. Morrissey does this by sending mailers addressed to the entire family and inviting family members to benefits meetings. Presentation recordings and easily accessible benefits guides and cheat sheets also give families a chance to review materials together at their convenience without interruptions to the workday.
“Many of our primary decision-makers are spouses at home, so it’s vital that we reach them [with our benefits materials] and lift those barriers to access.”
29. Incorporate texting. Some workers spend little time in front of a computer and even less time reading email. Text messages work well to reach these employees, Morrissey said. It helps to focus on employees who need to take a specific action – pick a health plan, enroll in a 401(k), and so on. As with text marketing, messages should be short, refer to a call to action, and include a link directly to the place where employees can take action.
30. Mix up the medium. Just like different population segments need different messages, they respond to different channels of communication. Your strategy should include a mix of social, mobile, text, email, phone-based, and in-person communication. Message formats and tones should be different for each medium – texts are short, in-person meetings are largely unscripted, special posts are less formal, and so on – but the overall terminology and key takeaways should remain the same, Trost said.
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