Com­pa­nies spend a large amount of time and mon­ey cre­at­ing valu­able ben­e­fits plans for employ­ees.  But after all that work, they often get low par­tic­i­pa­tion.  Good ben­e­fit choic­es require an effort from employ­ers to ensure that employ­ees have help in under­stand­ing their ben­e­fits options.  To make things even more com­plex, employ­ers are hav­ing to con­sid­er options for a span of 4 gen­er­a­tions in the work­place which can look very dif­fer­ent.  Pro­vid­ing ben­e­fits for a multi­gen­er­a­tional work­place can be chal­leng­ing but it is impor­tant for employ­ers to sim­pli­fy the process by deliv­er­ing edu­ca­tion through the right chan­nels while avoid­ing a one-size-fits-all approach.

Under­stand­ing your audi­ence and how to effec­tive­ly com­mu­ni­cate with them is the first step in cre­at­ing your ben­e­fits mes­sag­ing. For exam­ple, what are the demo­graph­ics of your work­place? Do you need to pro­vide mul­ti­ple mes­sages across var­i­ous chan­nels? Does your work­place speak Eng­lish, or will you need bilin­gual messaging?

A recent sur­vey indi­cates that 83% of employ­ers believe that com­mu­ni­ca­tion, employ­ee edu­ca­tion and engage­ment are key for employ­ee participation.

Here are 5 tips on edu­cat­ing your employ­ees about their ben­e­fits to encour­age ben­e­fits participation:

  1. Break Down Health Insur­ance Options
  • Dis­trib­ute a sim­ple guide that explains the key things employ­ees should know about their health insur­ance and basic ter­mi­nol­o­gy
  • Explain in sim­ple terms about provider net­work, cov­ered pre­scrip­tions, month­ly pre­mi­ums, deductibles, and addi­tion­al plan ben­e­fits, if applicable
  • Have an effi­cient way for employ­ees to man­age ben­e­fits and ask questions
  1. Auto­mate the Process
  1. Make Plans Customizable
  • Pro­vide plen­ty of ben­e­fits options includ­ing med­ical, den­tal and vision from lead­ing carriers
  • Offer a lifestyle ben­e­fits pro­gram that allows employ­ees to per­son­al­ize their plan accord­ing to their needs
  • Con­sid­er offer­ing perks like com­muter ben­e­fits or health club mem­ber­ships to reduce finan­cial bur­dens and encour­age a healthy lifestyle
  1. Pro­vide Mul­ti­ple Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Strategies
  • Offer edu­ca­tion­al tools and chan­nels pre­ferred by employ­ees so they can stay informed year-round to make bet­ter pur­chas­ing decisions
  • Uti­lize effec­tive ben­e­fits edu­ca­tion tools that include in-per­son and vir­tu­al meet­ings, dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion or print media
  • You can uti­lize a short video to explain key con­cepts; use graphs and images or cre­ate short quizzes for employ­ees to ensure they have read and under­stand the material
  1. Make it Easy to Sign-Up
  • Invest in updat­ed HR and Ben­e­fits tech­nol­o­gy that includes easy mes­sage capa­bil­i­ties such as email, text mes­sage alerts, video sup­port, and live chat integration
  • Pro­vide a Ben­e­fits mobile app
  • Offer a ben­e­fits web­site which hous­es ben­e­fit infor­ma­tion, HR infor­ma­tion, and enroll­ment mate­r­i­al such as “Ben­e­fit­sEasy

Although you may use one or more of the tips above, it is vital to keep the infor­ma­tion flow­ing through­out the year. A fun way to do this is to pose a month­ly triv­ia ques­tion to your staff relat­ed to the ben­e­fits and well­ness pro­grams you offer and award a prize to the per­son who sub­mits the cor­rect answer. High­light­ing dif­fer­ent fea­tures of your ben­e­fits or well­ness pro­grams each month will keep your employ­ees engaged and informed!