With unemployment at an all-time low, benefits communication is more important than ever. Benefits communications play a meaningful role in both recruitment and retention efforts. Clear, informative and convincing engagement can make or break your results.
Here’s evidence: A recent Aflac survey found that 33% of employees were not confident they even knew what benefits they had signed up for. A Kaiser Family Foundation report said 27% of millennials had left a job due to benefits – maybe because the benefits weren’t great, or maybe because the employee simply couldn’t understand them!
Attention and resistance to change are most common challenges
We recently invited benefits professionals to our offices to discuss the challenges of benefits communication. Among the most common were:
- Reaching employees at multiple locations – many of whom don’t use email for work
- Getting employees to attend meetings, read materials and generally pay attention to benefits communication
- Finding time in employees’ busy schedules to have benefits discussions
- Resistance to change
- The abundance of decisions and choices
- Spouses being left out of the conversation
8 Miller Group tools you can use
The Miller Group has multiple benefits communication tools you can use to address these challenges.
1. Employee Surveys
A post-enrollment survey can help you understand what’s working and what’s not. The surveys typically ask about employee needs and try to assess whether employees understand the value of their benefits. They’re usually brief – taking about five minutes or less to complete. And they can help you shape future benefits messaging while demonstrating to employees that their concerns are heard and addressed. Some companies offer a small incentive – like a $5 Starbuck’s card – to ensure participation. If you’re a client of The Miller Group, we can design, administer and report on the survey for you.
2. Pre-enrollment Promotions
These can be as simple as posters in the breakrooms, postcards sent to the home or paystub inserts. Miller can do the planning, copy and design for you, while you cover printing and mailing.
3. Benefits Brochures
The Miller Group can produce a variety of formats – from full-size and half-size printed booklets to online flip books that are viewable on mobile devices. Some smaller groups prefer a simple summary sheet. Online versions have the advantage of being updatable any time.
4. Benefits Websites
Documenting all your benefits on a website helps ensure all employees – and their spouses – have access any time. Your site also can include a tab specifically designed for new hires. And all sites are mobile friendly, as well.
A few clients attending our event commented on the websites they have created with The Miller Group: “This works great for us,” said one. “Miller is quick to update it with changes. The website takes care of most questions so I can focus on people who are having trouble.” Another said, “This is a lifesaver for us with 60 stores in multiple states. I highly recommend it!”
5. Chat Feature
The Miller Group can make representatives available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays to answer employee questions live, via online chat. We can use email for questions submitted outside of business hours and also set up chats during specific times.
6. Narrated Presentations
To make sure your benefits presentation is available to employees any time, you can work with The Miller Group to create a recorded webcast, which you can post online.
7. Q&A Sheets
Sometimes a simple Q&A can go a long way – especially if you need to customize information for specific scenarios, locations or employee groups.
8. Video Education
The Miller Group has a series of short videos on benefits topics, which you can show in meetings or make part of your website:
- Health Savings Accounts
- HSAs vs FSAs
- Flexible Spending Accounts
- Healthcare Networks
6 tips for better benefits communications
1. Start planning early in the year; don’t wait for open enrollment!
2. Communicate in bite-sized pieces. People are overloaded with communication – especially at open enrollment time. Think about ways to spread your benefits communication out through ongoing communication or even quarterly campaigns.
3. Use a variety of tools. People learn in different ways, so try to use multiple formats, such as print, video, electronic communication and in-person discussions.
4. Offer incentives to improve engagement. Even small logo items such as rulers and lip balm can entice people to respond to a survey or participate in a benefits trivia contest, for example.
5. Check for understanding along the way. Look for common questions; do employees understand what you’re delivering? With the help of employee feedback, you can design your next communication more effectively.
6. Appoint benefits champions in various locations who can disperse information and provide feedback to HR. They can amplify the effect of your communication.
We hope these ideas help give your current benefits communications a boost or help you understand what you should expect from your broker. When employees know and understand their benefits, everyone wins.
By Mindy McDermott, Director, Marketing & Communications