The days of a “one-size-fits-all” employee benefits package are far behind us. The US workforce is becoming more diverse than ever. Employers and consultants are implementing benefit strategies to appeal to a multi-generational workforce. More times than not, these strategies include options. With multiple options comes the need to effectively communicate with and educate a diverse workforce to prepare them to successfully navigate the benefits being offered to them.
We hear from our clients often that one of the biggest challenges they face is communicating with and engaging their workforce. Employee Benefits represent a sizable portion of a company’s total compensation package. So, what can employers do to help their employees successfully navigate their benefits package?
Engage professionals to assess the company’s needs for employee communication. There are several companies that focus solely on employee benefits communication. The funds invested in utilizing one of these companies are funds well spent. These companies understand the obstacles that employers face and have solutions to meet the diverse needs of any employer. At The Koch Co., we regularly engage these companies to partner with our clients.
Create a formal communication plan and stick with it. Whether or not you use an outside company to assist with communication, it’s important to create a formal plan, no matter how simple or complex.
Here are some tips to creating a formal plan:
- Set goals or objectives. Identify what you want to accomplish with the communication. The messaging should be different for new hire enrollment versus annual enrollment.
- Cultivate messages that force action from employees. Use key words and phrases that will spark interest and emphasize the importance of what you are trying to communicate.
- Utilize the appropriate communication channels for your employees. This may mean that you need to segment your audience. If you are not sure how best to communicate with your employees, ask them. Some may prefer paper, and others may prefer electronic communication. Remember, one size does not fit all.
- Measure outcomes. Utilize surveys, contests, and the like to help drive engagement. It is important to review employee feedback so you can better utilize these resources year over year.
Review the process and come up with ways to improve. Benefits communication is not a “one-and-done” effort. While the trend in workplace culture is to create an environment of empowerment, self-service and accountability, you hire employees for what they can contribute to the business, not their knowledge of employee benefits. It is important to encourage employees to reach out if they don’t understand the benefits package being offered.
Effective communication is essential to ensuring your employees are able to successfully navigate the benefits that are offered to them. If communication is not part of your overall benefits strategy, now is the time to change that.