Employee Benefits

Don’t Look Now, But…

Mark Fitzgibbons
Mark Fitzgibbons
Communication Director, Employee Benefits

It’s September!

That means it’s Pumpkin Spice Latte (and Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew and Pumpkin Spice Spam) season!

And, alas, benefits enrollment season. But, fear not — today’s blog is here to turn that frown upside down and give you a three-step path toward enrollment nirvana.

Step 1: Keep It Simple

The classic writer’s guide, The Elements of Style, explains it best:

Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

Simplicity extends beyond messages to channels as well. We often rely on a plethora of vendors and resources to communicate with employees. But if possible, offer employees a single point of access to information and communication that is simple, reliable, and personal. Employees should be able to access the information they need easily, when and where they need it, without using multiple channels and surfing through multiple resources to get the information they need.

Step 2: Design for Understanding and Engagement

Ask yourself these questions — How can we make our communication more informative and entertaining for each individual? What kind of content delights and inspires?

When thinking delight and inspiration, you can’t ignore video. Consider incorporating video into your communication strategy — and play to its strengths. Video is great at setting a stage, establishing tone, and creating pace. If you use it to convey information, remember that less is more. When given a choice between a 12-second pet video or a 25-minute open enrollment presentation, 100 percent of us will choose the 12-second option. And we all have that type of choice available, all the time.

Step 3: Think Mobile First, Employee First

In our on-demand society, people expect fast, readily available information from their mobile devices, at any time. Couple this with an increasingly distributed workforce that includes non-desktop workers, and the need for mobile connectivity skyrockets. A communication strategy that leverages mobile technology is essential for promoting an employee-first mentality, which fosters a more engaging employee experience.

While employees do want information, like you, they’re busy and inundated with incoming messages all day long. If your benefit communications aren’t relevant to them personally, right out of the gate, they won’t pay attention. To get their attention, start by answering their biggest question: What’s in it for me? Then, tell them what action they need to take and clearly lay out their options.

In other words, think about what employees need to know, and stop there. Cut the administrivia and let your communications be clear, engaging, and understandable. Be respectful of their time and your own energy. As the Staple Singers taught us:

“If you disrespect anybody that you run in to,

How in the world do you think anybody’s supposed to respect you?”

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