How to Communicate About Your Employee Benefits Package Better
February 26, 2019
Your employees save when they participate in the health reimbursement and savings accounts you offer as part of your employee benefits package. You’ve emailed them about the perks of the plans. You’ve shared resources to help them learn more. However, your participation numbers aren’t as high as you’d like them to be.
When your employees lack the understanding and experience needed to make informed decisions, it can lead to lower enrollment than you’d like to see. Fortunately, there are a number of tactics you can use to bridge the communication gap, encourage participation and help employees get the most out of their plans.
Provide examples of savings
Contribution limits. Documentation. Substantiation. There are many new terms your employees might be introduced to when learning about their benefits options. However, rather than getting too “in the weeds” right away, position your communication by using a “What’s in it for me?” approach.
One of the best ways to illustrate your plans’ savings potential is with real-life examples for your employees to see. For example, if you offer a Health Savings Accounts (HSA) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), provide dollar figures on what they could save in taxes if they contributed the IRS maximum to the account. Our HSA Employee Guide and FSA Employee Guide provide examples you can use.
How you present information about your plans is just as important as the information itself. Since we’re in a digital age, your employees are likely used to seeing more information now than ever before. You need to make information easy to read, scan and digest. Use visuals whenever possible to show stats, tables and graphs related to your plans. And, when you do provide information, do so with quick-hitting blocks of text or bulleted lists rather than long narratives.
Leverage a variety of platforms
Mobile devices have transformed the way your many of your employees consume information. How they engage in information depends largely on the technology they’re comfortable with and choose to use. Your approach should be multi-pronged to ensure you effectively reach all of your employee audiences.
Emails, meetings, videos and handouts are all ways you can reach your employees with information about your plans. With those options (and so many more), focus on:
- Consistency. No matter how you communicate with your employees, make sure the messaging is the same across all platforms and resources.
- Creativity. Grab their attention with electronic or TV displays, posters and other visuals in high-traffic areas of your workplace.
Focus on open enrollment
A year-round engagement strategy keeps your benefits top of mind for your employees. But the most important time you need their attention is during open enrollment. That’s when they’ll be deciding what plans to enroll in and making other financial and healthcare decisions, such as what health plans to enroll in or whether they should contribute to a 401(k). Develop a strategy that specifically focuses on what and when to communicate leading up to open enrollment.
One survey found that nearly three-quarters of employees thought HSAs were pretty much the same as FSAs, despite the two types of accounts being very different. Encourage your employees to ask questions so they can have the confidence to learn the facts and make informed decisions.
Our employee resource center provides educational resources to help answer questions through a variety of media. And check out Discovery Answers™, where we’ve compiled help articles on some of the most popular topics and questions related to benefits plans and COBRA coverage. (Plus, a more comprehensive version of Discovery Answers™ is available to participants through their online account.)
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