Open enrollment marks the one time of the year when employers have a captive audience ready to learn about benefits. To increase engagement and understanding, it’s critical to deploy creative and effective communications strategies that cut through the noise and clearly articulate the value of your benefits package.
Even before the pandemic struck and altered the workforce across every industry, companies felt the pressure to deliver a compelling value proposition to their people. A recent study found that employee experience was the number one priority for senior HR leaders—and because of the far-reaching impacts recently experienced, that priority is now even more critical.
With open enrollment season on the horizon, consider these principles to help enhance your benefits communications strategy:
1. MAKE IT PERSONAL
Many organizations are moving away from a one-size-fits-all communications approach. Your workforce likely includes a wide range of demographics, so it’s important to craft your messaging to appeal to your dynamic audience. Messages, images and stories can be tailored and targeted to each segment of your employee population and delivered in a variety of mediums to suit their communication preference.
Another way to get personal with employees is to deliver communications that are relatable and useful. Self-recorded video testimonials and branding that embody the heart and core values of the organization all create the opportunity for employees to feel a personal connection.
2. LEVERAGE VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS
One common struggle during open enrollment is ensuring all employees fully understand the benefits available to them. To help make benefits easier to understand, consider how you can share the information with visuals. Using images, icons and infographics can help simplify complex concepts around how plans —such as HSAs and retirement contributions— work.
Utilize digital presentations with pre-recording narration or engaging animation to help improve the level of understanding. Consider providing a self-paced, modern e-learning experience through courses with videos and quizzes, as well.
And don’t forget to utilize your organization’s intranet or website, which should help communicate the full range and value of an employee’s pay and benefits. Use dashboards to summarize information and make key benefits information easy to identify and access.
3. ENGAGE IN TWO-WAY COMMUNICATIONS
To effectively prepare for open enrollment, it’s important to have an accurate gauge on your employees’ concerns and priorities. Do you know what’s on their minds or what keeps them up at night? Using pulse technology can be a great way of uncovering and dealing with those burning questions and give you critical insights to integrate into your communications plan.
Adopt a two-way communications approach by encouraging questions and feedback from your people. Virtual office hours, live Q&A sessions with leaders or a virtual benefits fair are all great options to open the lines of communication. These strategies give employees and their family members opportunities to learn about benefits, participate in live chats and connect with HR and plan provider partners.
4. EMBRACE + DEPLOY TECH-ENABLED TOOLS
With more and more employees now working remotely, employers need to be creative when it comes to getting open enrollment information into their employee’s hands. Gone are the days of company-wide, in-person open enrollment meetings as many organizations have pivoted to a hybrid work environment. Ensure your employees can access their benefits and focus on their health in the same ways that they engage in the world—via smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Whether it’s through a digital PDF, animated flipbook or a narrated video, open enrollment is a great time to rethink your media and communication channels. Review the look and feel of your previous communication pieces and consider creative ways to upgrade or digitize your materials to make them more easily accessible to your workforce.
MJ is here to help. Our Benefits Consulting team will work with you to craft and implement a benefits communications strategy designed to reach your business goals. Contact MJ today, and let’s get the conversation started.CONTACT MJ