Why We Love Implementing an Employee Benefits Communication Game Plan (And You Should, Too!)


By Jessica Foust

 

Today’s HR teams are facing more challenges than ever before. From uncertain ACA rulings to changing workforce demographics, the confusion over how to remain effective is causing some communication pile ups. Offensive, defensive, and even special teams tactics are needed to create effective plays in today’s workplace. How do you dodge employee information overload and still turn around deliverables like successful open enrollment and wellness program participation? You need a game plan!

Alan Lakein once said: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” A good game plan can ensure you meet and even surpass your employee benefit communication goals. This plan should include a yearlong timeline of ongoing communications delivered through a multi-touch approach. Of course, open enrollment is an important time to communicate with employees about the benefits package you offer, but you should also do it year-round to ensure your employee know what you offer.

A great employee benefits communication game plan includes:

Developing Goals
Creating goals for your year-round game plan sounds simple enough, right? Your goals don’t have to be complicated, but you need to know what you are aiming for. That way you can measure success using key metrics like employee satisfaction and retention rates.

  1. Knowing Your Players
    Every organization has at least three buckets of players: employees, senior leadership and sideline fans, like a spouse or domestic partner. It’s extremely important to know who these groups of people are – their communication preferences, demographic profile and their precise wants and needs as it relates to your company’s benefits, culture, mission and so on.
  1. Crafting Overall Messaging
    Having a consistent messaging strategy across all your channels if of critical importance. Employees need to be able to access the same information no matter how they are receiving information. Every piece of content should have consistent and familiar messaging. So no matter if the employee is reading it in a benefit guide or reading a text message, the information or theme of your communications campaign is the same.
  1. Determining the Budget
    Your budgeting strategy needs to align with your overall business goals. The budget should not only include money but also access to resources like a communications consultant or even a graphic designer – both of which can help create and deliver engaging content and other assets.
  1. Generating Tactics, Content and Preferred Channels for Distribution
    The best way to implement your plan is through year-round multi-touch campaigns. This is because it takes on average seven times for a message to be understood and acted on. So think through different ways you can reach employees  in a variety of formats, channels, and technologies.

With U.S. employers now spending nearly 30%-40% of payroll on benefits, employers need to maximize the value from their benefits package. With a well-thought out game plan, you are on the way to educating employees about their benefits to retain great staff, increase productivity and boost engagement. And while there isn’t a magic formula for success, you are certainly more apt to hit a homerun with a plan that is consistent, creative and relatable (get rid of all that benefits jargon!). To evaluate success, measure outcomes and behaviors by using surveys, enrollment numbers and digital engagements like benefit website visitors, videos views and text message subscribers. That way you can look at what worked and what didn’t so you can refine your approach by updating goals or changing tactics for the upcoming year.