Open enrollment is likely happening now, or it’s right around the corner. Employers, as you help your employees through open enrollment, be sure to provide them with the information they need to make the best decision for themselves and their families.
Here are a few ideas for you to help streamline communication to your employee about their benefits package. The better the communication, the greater the participation!
1. Useful and Practical Benefits Communications
- Communicate more than the minimum required
- Avoid industry jargon and communicate your benefits package in layman’s terms
- Avoid using a one-size-fits-all method
As you know, there is a minimum requirement for communicating information on benefits. However, it’s wise to expand those efforts to fit your organization’s needs and your employee’s habits. Instead of more communications for the sake of more, consider different or more direct ways you can disseminate that information to your employees.
Utilizing multiple, separate communication platforms like digital, print, and in-person tools can better ensure the right information on benefits is reaching your employees at least once if not many times over. The use of more platforms shouldn’t result in a large increase in workload for you because you’re just sharing the same information across multiple platforms.
It’s also important to communicate benefits in layman’s terms, in a language your employees understand, and to avoid using too much industry jargon in your collateral and discussions. While industry jargon and the varied acronyms in the benefits industry may be meaningful to you and other industry professionals, they are often useless to employees. For best outcomes, keep it simple and straightforward.
2. Build Community with Employee Personas
- Recognize the similarities and differences in your staff
- Use employee personas to anticipate needs
- Segment your communications to provide more value
Everyone processes information differently. Whether you’re using digital or in-person communication tools, employers can benefit by recognizing the similarities and differences in their team. To build these “communities” you can use employee personas to anticipate questions that create meaningful dialog and better understanding.
A key advantage of employee personas is that it allows you to prepare for different situations and lets you segment your communications to provide more value. You can create these “persona groups” in different ways: employees with children, employees caring for elderly parents, new employees, and those who might have an interest in personal finance (401k and retirement). These groups share common goals and will likely have similar concerns. It also helps build morale and helps to build a sense of community for the greater team.
3. The Rise of Voluntary Benefits
- A win for both employees and employers
- Offers diversification of benefits and help with out-of-pocket expenses
- Recruitment and retention drivers
Over the past 12 months or so, there has been a surge of employee interest in “voluntary benefits” such as life insurance, accident insurance, hospital indemnity insurance, disability insurance, and even pet insurance. These benefits fill in the gaps of standard benefits packages and are typically payroll deducted. They are also typically offered at group (discounted rates) and are 100% paid for by the employee at no employer cost, whatsoever — a win-win!
Adding voluntary benefits to your benefits is a good diversification strategy. These benefits round out your benefits package by helping employees with out-of-pocket costs associated with unforeseen injuries and illnesses such as deductibles, co-pays, and loss of income. Benefits are paid directly to the employee – and can be used by the employee as they see fit.
Surely, health benefits get all the attention, but there are many upsides to offering and educating your employee on the advantages of their employer offering these benefits during open enrollment. Of course, the extra cost is always top of mind to employees. Make a concerted effort to educate them on the advantages of voluntary benefits.
Advantages include group pricing – by purchasing through their employer, they are benefiting from significantly discounted rates; guarantee issue – everyone qualifies for coverage regardless of medical history; non-coordination – these benefits pay regardless of any other coverage they have in place; and portability – unlike the medical, dental and vision, employees can take these benefits wherever life takes them.
By offering these benefits, and educating your employees on their advantages during open enrollment, employers can expect to reap their own benefits – boosts in employee morale, recruitment, and retention!
Employees Are More Benefits-Aware Than Ever
Coming off a global health crisis that had significant financial and employment implications, employees are becoming increasingly more conscious of their current benefits and their future benefit options. They are paying greater attention to cost, while also evaluating risk and the benefits available that can help reduce that risk.
If that feels overwhelming to figure out the best benefits for your employees and to educate and communicate those benefits in a way that sticks, an employee benefits consultant could be your best option. A benefits consultant provides expert advice that can help you make the most of available plans, select the best plans to suit your employee base, and help you optimize and streamline your benefits communications.
Let’s Talk About Next Steps
VSMG helps implement affordable, competitive, and sustainable employee benefits programs that work to reduce insurance costs, stabilize rates, support recruitment, and retention efforts, and improve the health, happiness, wellness, and productivity of your employees for the long term. Our fixed, all-inclusive employee benefits consulting fee includes benefits advice, benefits strategy, vendor analysis, enrollment support, and much more.
For more information on how VSMG Employee Benefits Consulting services can help your organization with better advice and better benefits, feel free to reach out and speak directly with a member of our team.