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Employee Benefits

What Would Marie Kondo Say about Your Employee Benefits Communication?

Mark Fitzgibbons
Mark Fitzgibbons
Communication Director, Employee Benefits

“In a series of inspiring makeovers, world-renowned tidying expert Marie Kondo helps clients clear out the clutter and choose joy.” This is how Netflix describes their eminently bingeable 2019 series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

While the show — and the books, social media feeds, websites, lifestyle products, etc. — focus on the home, the principles can also help guide a makeover of your employee benefits communication.

As we all gear up for enrollment season, let’s see how Marie’s approach applies to this time of year — one that can definitely use some tidying up.

Step 1: Commit Yourself to Tidying

The best results happen when you commit to the process and resolve to put in the time and effort required. When you approach your tidying festival with a clear vision and a can-do attitude, you’ll find the energy and motivation you need.

Outside experts (like Holmes Murphy!) can provide a strategic structure and added muscle to your employee benefits communication effort, but you are best equipped to set the vision, tone, goals, and approach that are best for your unique organization.

Step 2: Imagine Your Ideal

This is another way of saying, “Start with the end result in mind.”

Think about the reactions you want your employees to have to your employee benefits program. Your answers likely include feelings like “appreciative,” “understanding,” “confident,” “protected,” and “secure.”

While you may be inclined to describe the tech specs of each of your benefits options, consider whether you want your people to become well-versed in plan design differences and costs, or if you want them to be comfortable in the choices they make.

Step 3: Finish Discarding First

While discarding isn’t the point of the process, it’s important to pare down before beginning to build back up. Doing so will enable you to focus on what you want to keep and let go of the rest.

In Marie’s words, “Cherish the items that bring you joy, and let go of the rest with gratitude.” And if employee benefits communication does not bring you joy, then put yourself in your employees’ place and consider what will be most helpful to them in this time of need.

On a practical level, discarding also allows you to have an accurate grasp of how much actually needs to be shared. Only after you’ve discarded, can you turn your full energy and attention to that which brings your employees joy, appreciation, understanding, confidence, etc. as you defined in Step 2.

Step 4: Tidy by Category

On the home front, this step means tidying all clothing at once rather than one shelf, closet, or room at a time.

In your employee benefits communication, this tidy-by-category approach can be applied to benefits year segments (enrollment, new year, tax time, etc.) or to audience segments (senior management, sales staff, shop employees, etc.) rather than a one-email-at-a-time approach. This approach allows you to see the employee benefits experience through your users’ eyes and identify what’s most needed.

Step 5: Follow the Right Order

Marie found that tidying your belongings in a certain order is the most efficient and effective. By starting with relatively easy categories (like clothing) and ending with more challenging ones (like sentimental items), people hone their decision-making skills and choosing what to keep seems simpler at the end.

In employee benefits communication, starting with pre-enrollment education can provide a kick-start to the tidying process, so that when it’s time to revisit the 48-page enrollment guide, tidying it is much less daunting proposition.

Step 6: Ask If It Sparks Joy

“Joy” is the foundation for Marie’s approach to tidying a home. In the employee benefits communication arena, only you can know what will bring your employees joy. And if you’re unsure, just ask them via a survey or focus group. They’ll be happy to tell you.

Then, through the process of selecting only those things that inspire joy, you can identify precisely what your employees love — and what you need to offer them.

So, if tidying up your employee benefits communication sounds like a good idea but you’re unsure how to accomplish it, feel free to contact Holmes Murphy or hit me up directly!

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