Communication Methods – Strategies That Matter. The complex nature of healthcare and employee benefits can make the renewal cycle challenging for employees to navigate. Whether an employee is trying to understand their 401(k) contributions or what the deductible will be for a medical procedure, the insurance industry can be difficult to understand — but it doesn’t have to be. This year, when communicating your employee benefits to your people, consider ways to simplify the message.
When employees have difficulty understanding their benefits program they can become discouraged and frustrated, leading to an underutilized plan. If employees aren’t using the benefits program as intended, funds could be lost and overall employee satisfaction can decrease. Even well-designed, comprehensive benefits programs can become underused by employees if effective forms of communication are not in place.
COMMUNICATE THE VALUE OF YOUR BENEFITS.
Bringing awareness and initiating conversations about your benefits program can make a significant difference in overall usage and understanding. But don’t wait too long. Communications need to occur throughout the year, waiting until open enrollment can be too late for employees to truly understand and appreciate their options.
A high-quality healthcare program with effective communication can be perceived by employees as more valuable than a healthcare program of the same quality without effective communication. Take time to communicate your benefits program in a way that is understandable and relatable. There are many ways to bring awareness and better understanding to your benefits program, such as:
- Text messaging. Short texts are a reliable and efficient way to communicate benefit program details and highlights to both large and small groups.
- Short targeted messages. Digestible, bite-size pieces of communication that can be sent via social media channels. Depending on your business and workforce, multiple social media outlets can be utilized to help reach more employees.
- Private YouTube videos. Step-by-step instructions, updates and highlights can be recorded and sent via email or company app. These videos can also be sent to employee family members who may also benefit from viewing the material.
- Medical Telehealth. Reminders that 24-hour access to Telehealth services is available can be sent to employees periodically throughout the year.
- One-on-one communication. Speaking directly with an experienced consultant can give employees a chance to discuss their individual concerns.
If you are unsure which communications method will work best for your unique workforce, speak to an experienced consultant today. They can help you set up a schedule and strategy that will work best for your workforce. For example, if the workforce is technically inclined, sending text messages or video links could be a beneficial strategy, whereas a workforce who prefers one-on-one communication could benefit more from in-person events or scheduled phone calls.
WHEN EMPLOYEES UNDERSTAND THEIR BENEFITS, THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO USE THEM.
When the route of communication is established the same strategy can be reused throughout the year to remind employees about their programs. Organizations can align targeted communication with current events or important milestones. For example, health awareness months, certain holidays, important company milestones, or current events. Relatable real-time communication that employees can relate to.
Your communication method should also be reviewed often to update and accommodate any changes in rules and regulations. Keeping communications updated can also create a positive work environment. When employees understand their rights and responsibilities, they are more likely to feel valued and respected.
Your benefits program is only effective if your people understand how to use it. Sending digestible messages related to education, updates and events can get employees talking about their benefits and asking important questions. If you want to learn more about communication methods that suit your workforce, don’t hesitate to reach out.