Meet the Speakers
Global Benefits and Well-Being Manager, Zendesk
Senior Manager, Benefits and Wellness, Niagara Bottling
National Employee Health and Benefits Program Manager, Marsh & McLennan Agency
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 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 heard from industry leaders during Engage.
There’s not one magical formula that works for every brokerage, but there are a few tactics that appear again and again in our most successful customers’ campaigns—the ones that have really nailed benefits engagement. Let’s jump in.
1. Customize your messaging depending on your audience
As organizations large and small have increased their focus on DEI initiatives in the past two years, benefits pros are looking for ways to make sure their benefits messages reach and appeal to a broad range of employees.
One important component of that effort? Reaching every generation within your workforce. According to MetLife, 70% of organizations say leading multigenerational workforces is important to their success over the next 18 months, but only 10% say they’re ready to address this trend.
Lauren Trost of Marsh McLennan Agency highlighted how choosing the right communication channels is crucial to making sure your benefits messages are heard and understood by each generation:
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.
And while you’re thinking about how to communicate with each generation, think about the what as well. Trost argues that not all benefits are created equally: Baby Boomers are more likely to be curious about their retirement benefits, while Millennials want to hear more about student loan reimbursement and parental leave. Think about which benefits you’re focused on most with each audience.
Each generation has their own benefits interests
- Student loan repayment
- Ways to get involved in DE&I efforts
- Recognition programs
- Mental health care
- Student loan repayment and/or tuition reimbursement
- Pet insurance
- Volunteer opportunities
- Flexible working schedules
- Retirement match
- Work/life balance
- Childcare benefits
- Competitive salary
- Rich medical plan
- Life and transition coaches
- Retirement planning support
2. Leverage employee resource groups
Like many of us, the HR team at Zendesk was focused on driving higher engagement with mental health and wellness initiatives during the pandemic. And while they used all of the typical communication tactics in their toolbelt to get the word out about new and existing resources, they also tapped into one surprising marketing channel: their employee resource groups.
Benefits Manager Jen Bergman told us about Zendesk’s Whole Self employee community, a group focused on advancing mental health awareness and wellness within the organization.
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.
This is one of our favorite communication ideas for large companies especially, because it relies on smaller networks of people in the office that can help you disperse your message to lots of employees, rather than relying on one point person in HR. Arm your clients’ employee “influencers” with all of the information they need to help you spread the word about your benefits offerings.
3. Make benefits accessible to the whole family
Employees aren’t making benefits decisions in a vacuum. Many have spouses, children, and elderly family members to consider. So making educational materials available to the whole family is crucial when employees are deciding which healthcare plans and other benefits to choose.
That’s something Kristi Morrissey and her team at Niagara Bottling kept in mind during last year’s open enrollment:
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.
How did Kristi and her team make it happen? Niagara Bottling mails newsletters to their employees’ homes, and they host live benefits meetings in their offices that are open to family members. Plus, they record open enrollment presentations so that spouses can access the information they need on their own time.
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