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Benefits Communication 101

Are your employees familiar with the benefits that your company provides? Is there ongoing communication with your employees throughout their employment, or is it something that is only ever discussed during the onboarding process? Do you have a benefits communication plan in place to keep employees informed about updates or changes to their benefits? Do your employees know enough about their benefits to keep them from being lured away by more competitive offers?

Employers spend a lot of time, effort, and expense in making sure that their employees have the best possible benefits. After all, making sure that employees are happy and healthy helps ensure that they are effective and productive at work.

Unfortunately, companies often fail to communicate the value of their programs so that employees are aware of their benefits and options within plans. Too often, companies limit their communication efforts to specific times of the year, like recruitment and onboarding, and fail to follow up with informational updates or changes to benefits plans, or useful information about wellness programs.

Luckily, there are multiple ways to communicate employee benefits with your workforce. Effective communication with your employee base can make the difference between a successful benefits plan and one that falls flat.

Customize Your Communication Strategy

Your communication plan should be tailored to your company and the people that make up your workforce. From employee demographics and geographic locations to internal resources and technology, taking the time to assess the factors that can influence your communication will help you develop an effective communication strategy.

A good place to start is by listening to your employees to determine how they prefer to be informed and then develop plans to tap into these resources when creating communications.

You can target segments of employees who would benefit most from specific features of a benefit by sending tailored communications. You can also customize how you send messages to employees based on your segmentation. For example, if your part-time and full-time employees have access to different coverages, it’s important that they receive the most relevant communication.

Consider these channels for communicating your benefits strategy:

Print Material

Written and printed documents, from brochures to information cards to signage, can be an effective way to reach your employees. Consider having posters printed in the break room that details your company’s corporate wellness program, or create printed benefits documents that highlight rate schedules and coverage amounts in an easy-to-read infographic.

Information Meetings

Whether you host in-person meetings or webinars, information meetings are a great way to disseminate new information quickly. They also provide a platform for your employees to have their questions answered directly. Consider hosting annual or bi-annual information sessions for your employees so they can educate themselves about how to get the most out of their benefits packages.

Annual Statements

Most employees get information about their benefits during the onboarding process, and then forget all about them. Total compensation statements are annual documents that detail the salary, benefits, and other incentives offered to each employee, and they can be a useful tool for creating a meaningful dialogue between workers and their employers about employee benefits.

Digital Communication

In today’s world, we expect a lot of our daily communication to take place via digital channels such as email, text message, and mobile apps. Consider writing a seasonal email newsletter that informs your employees about different ways to stay healthy throughout the year. Many wellness programs are now connected to digital apps that let employees track their daily fitness levels. Digital communications can help you get topical and relevant benefits information out to your employees throughout the year.

Employee Benefits Websites Web Portals

Having a web-based employee benefit portal or dedicated website can help your company to provide a secure way to share information about benefits plans, including instructions for enrolling or making changes to an existing plan. Web-based programs can also provide pertinent information to program participants, including health tips, recipes, and forums to discuss other health topics.

It’s important to keep in mind that benefits websites include highly sensitive data, so consider using advanced encryption methods and a single-sign-on authentication process to protect personal information and prevent data breaches.

If you’re looking for a way to effectively communicate the features of your benefit plan, consider the tips above. Or maybe, you’re in the market for an entirely new health insurance plan that could help you save costs while offering your employees more robust coverage. Learn more about how to manage your employee benefits or request a consultation today: https://www.swbc.com/employee-health-benefits-and-wellness

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Amanda Pagan

Amanda joined SWBC in 2019 and serves as the Director of Communications for the Employee Benefits Consulting Group. She leads the communication strategy for the division to support all benefits, wellness and sales initiatives. In her role, she creates and manages campaigns and oversees the design and content of all print and digital communication materials for clients. Amanda brings more than nine years of experience in the communication field, specializing in technical writing, graphic design, and strategy. Her background includes supporting and managing teams that specialize in strategic communication, public affairs, and change management for high-profile public sector projects.

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