Every year it’s the same process. Benefits enrollment season comes around and it seems no matter how much you prepare; it is still a struggle to communicate information to your employees and help them take appropriate actions. Healthcare plans are constantly changing and becoming more convoluted as laws and rules surrounding them become more complex. Combine that with rising health care costs and it’s a daunting task before you even get started. It doesn’t have to be that way though. You can communicate benefits options to your employees with clarity and transparency. These strategies will help.
Start With a Plan and Identify Your Objectives
Well before open enrollment starts, define your goals and objectives. From there you can create a communication strategy and provide your employees with the information that they need to make educated decisions. One objective could be to encourage employee signup to take place throughout the period of enrollment instead of waiting until the last minute.
Know What Your Employees Want and Need
Once you know what your organization’s goals are you need to look at what your employees need and want. Focus groups, interviews, and surveys are a good way to get a feel for what they will find valuable in a benefits package. This information will give you a good jumping-off point for creating documentation and will drive the development of your communication strategy.
Identify Knowledge Gaps or What Your Employees Need to Know
Information gathering can also clue you into areas where your employees may be lacking knowledge or be unclear on certain aspects of their benefits. That will present you with a prime opportunity to craft your communication to meet those needs and educate your employees with information that will allow them to make good decisions regarding their benefits. Plan changes are included here as well as new offerings and employees who are just starting out or transitioning.
Start Sharing Information Early
The time to begin sharing information on employee benefits is before open enrollment season. Employee education on benefits should be an ongoing endeavor. Of course, the bulk of your communications should occur during open enrollment, but that should not be the only time employees hear from you about their benefits.
Use a Variety of Technology and Other Tools
You have an abundance of options when it comes to getting your message out. Ideally, you should use several methods such as email, web app, and printed material. Email has long been regarded as an optimum way to share information and provide timely reminders. However, SMS may be a more feasible communication method. An app could be even more effective. You need to look at your employees and think about the best ways to reach them. The one thing you don’t want to do is adopt a one size fits all communication strategy.
Keep the Message Clear, Simple, and Straightforward
Organize the information you want to share and find ways to communicate the message in a way that is simple, clear and easily understood. This four-step approach may help:
Compile all the benefits information you need to share with your employees that will allow them to make educated decisions regarding the plan they choose.
Include tables, graphics, and charts that allow employees to compare plans and options.
Use real-life examples to help employees see the benefits in action.
Make all benefits information shareable so that employees can share with each other and with their significant other.
Effective communication takes work regardless of the topic. When you take the time to assemble your information and provide it in a way that your employees can understand, you will empower them to make the decisions that are best for them and for their families.
Give your employees the help they need by ensuring they have the right benefits package. Call Eureka at 916-742-7842 and talk to one of our knowledgeable, friendly representatives, then head over to our site and download our free guide 5 Strategies to Bring Clarity to Employee Benefits.