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Employee benefit communication: Lessons from the presidential campaigns

By Higginbotham on August 15 , 2016

Employee Benefits Communication

In the ongoing battle to attract and retain the best talent, your employee benefits package is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal … but only if employees understand each benefit available. Often, the benefits communication process is lacking or antiquated, and vital information gets lost in the shuffle, leaving people confused about their options. In fact, according to Aflac’s 2015 Workforces Report, only 20 percent of employees surveyed said they had enough information to make informed decisions about their benefits. Only 20 percent! That’s clearly an epic fail.

How can employers deploy stronger benefits communication campaigns?

Presidential campaigns are essentially PR campaigns on steroids, and with the 2016 presidential race heating up, you can bet that both candidates have kicked their marketing and public relations teams into overdrive as we draw closer to the fall election. Just as those candidates must appeal to a wide variety of constituencies, your benefits packages have to appeal to an increasingly diverse workforce.

How do the presidential candidates pull it off? One way is by diversifying their communication channels. They understand that different groups communicate differently, and to reach those groups, they need to reach out through the mediums those groups are most likely to use.

The same applies to your benefits communications. With today’s multi-generational workforce, a one-size-fits-all communication strategy won’t cut it:

  • Baby Boomers and older Generation Xers prefer to actually speak to someone on the phone or in person.
  • Generation Y likes to use text messages, tweets and instant messages to communicate.
  • Younger millennials tend to use abbreviations and informal language in their daily communication, and they prefer social media.

Shy about digital? Time to get over it.

Simply relying on emails and stacks of printed materials to educate your employees about their benefits doesn’t cut it any more. Companies that can dedicate a digital savvy person to communicating benefits have a wide range of digital options these days, and your employees want to be engaged in a variety of mediums:

  • Videos
  • Social media
  • Mobile apps
  • Podcasts
  • Company intranet
  • Online newsletters and bulletin boards

Also, it’s important to keep your benefits communications going throughout the year. Don’t just dump a pile of information on your employees before each annual enrollment. Engage them in your ongoing benefits PR campaign, giving them information in easy-to-digest pieces. Guide them through their enrollment materials and the enrollment process, and provide plenty of avenues for them to get help through additional information sources or one-one-one advice. Help them be smart health care consumers.

For your employees, the stakes have never been higher.

With health care and health insurance costs continuing to rise, employees are increasingly being asked to bear more of the financial burden for their benefits, so they have more at stake in their health care decisions. Effective benefits communication is more crucial than ever to help them make sure those decisions are smart.

Ready to put together your own benefits PR campaign? At Higginbotham, our team of benefits experts and communication advisors can help, from concept to completion. Contact us to get started.

 

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Tags: Employee Benefits

  
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