Communicating Directly with Employees About Benefits

One of the major differences between employee benefits plans ten years ago and today is that benefit plans are no longer “one size fits all.” Employees now have options to choose from so that their plans are more tailor-made to suit their needs and health goals. What accompanies flexibility in benefits plans is the need to customize communications with employees about their plans as well.

Communicating directly with employees about their plans makes them feel more valued

Employers want their employees to get the most value out of the benefit programs that they offer, and that requires communicating and engaging employees so that they understand what their plan includes, what applies to them and how to access those benefits.

So many channels to use

Employee newsletters and 50-page plan booklets are no longer adequate ways to communicate to employees about their benefits plans. Because of the pandemic, employee communications have become focused on electronic channels such as emails and the company intranet. Some companies have even explored using chatbots and creating avatars to target messages to individual employees based on the type of coverage they have or other details about them.

What about privacy?

Are employees on board with this? Yes! In a survey, 62% of plan members said they would consent to receive health-related information based on their personal use of benefits from the insurance company that manages their plan.

Of that 62%, 45% would like to receive recommendations from local healthcare professionals, and 44% want information about their medication, and advice about handling their health conditions.

You can’t over-communicate

Business leader Alex Irvine said, “Over-communicate. It’s better to tell someone something they already know than to not tell them something they needed to hear.” In other words, there is no such thing as over-communicating. People are busy, distracted, and need constant reminders, and that is why sending messages to employees about benefits frequently and using many different tools and strategies is crucial.

True communication isn’t just one way either. Benefits managers need to develop multiple ways for their employees to ask questions, communicate concerns, and create conversations, not just broadcast one-way messages.

Targeting effective messages benefits everyone

Plan sponsors are also keen to see plan members get more information. In fact, 79% of Canadian plan sponsors say they are interested in their providers sending targeted communications to plan members. Employers have an opportunity to use a variety of tools and strategies to make communications relevant and targeted so that they resonate with their employees. Benefits managers should integrate their communications strategy with the company’s broader employee engagement strategy too.  Building awareness of benefits can become a creative way to enhance engagement.

Get advice from Health Risk Services on how to effectively communicate with your employees so that messages are received, and employees feel informed and supported.

To schedule your Complimentary Consultation with Health Risk Services, please call 403-236-9430 OR email: info@healthrisk.ca

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