Amidst the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nature of work for Americans has changed tremendously in what seem like a blink of an eye. While some employers are struggling with layoffs, others are racing to hire in order to meet unforeseen demands. Many businesses are also adapting to remote work, which presents its own set of unique challenges, especially for those who aren’t accustom to off-site environments.
This is all taking place alongside changes to rules, regulations and company policies as a result of COVID-19—challenging business leaders as they continue to manage, engage and be a trusted source of information and support for employees.
The solution? An enhanced level of communication from all areas of the organization.
To help benefits professionals get started, our latest e-book provides a month-by-month guide to help employers communicate and promote relevant benefits offerings to their workforce—including what to say, and when.
Did you know? Up to fifty percent of employees don't fully understand their benefits offerings. Considering how much time and budget goes into making sure employees have the very best benefits possible, it should be equally important that they have the best benefits information possible, as well—especially during trying times. This is why mapping out a communication strategy and distribution schedule can make a big difference in how your message is received.
Start by defining the business goals you hope to achieve as a result of your communication strategy. For example, do you want to increase enrollment in a specific plan? Or perhaps you'd like to see a decrease of inbound calls to your HR team? Whatever your goals may be, make sure to align them to your overall communication efforts for maximum results.
Next, you must take into account the various audiences your workforce is comprised of and segment your communications accordingly. For example, you may need to create different messages based on characteristics such as benefits class, demographics, job profiles, plan or program eligibility, etc? Being thoughtful upfront about who you are trying to reach will help your benefits communication materials have maximum impact with your audience.
Additionally remember to include a clear, concise call-to-action (CTA) that helps employees understand exactly what they need to know or any next steps they need to take.
Lastly, consider how you will deliver your message. From email to postcards, separate benefits websites to Slack channels, selecting the right medium is paramount to a successful outcome.
Timing and Other Considerations:
Seasonality frequently comes into play when it comes to communicating benefits offerings to employees—and this is a great place to start when building an effective communication strategy. For example, January is the perfect time to take the “New Year, New You” approach and introduce what’s new and exciting with your programs. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, presenting an opportunity to communicate information on the mental health benefits options your company offers. Finally, late summer may be the time to start talking about open enrollment, including how to navigate your enrollment portal and important deadlines to keep track of.
HR and benefits professionals know there is no shortage of benefits communication topics—but how and when to communicate along with preparing an action plan is where it can get tricky. We cover all that and more in our latest Employee Benefits Communication Calendar E-book.