When it comes to communicating benefits to your staff, the best approach will depend on a wide variety of factors. Number of employees, company culture and staff resources are some of the factors you’ll need to keep in mind when putting together benefits communication plans for your company.
The communication method you choose will also vary based on the benefits you're addressing. For example, educating all employees about a new benefit or announcing a new wellness plan don't require tailored communication. But, if you're helping employees change their benefits during a life event, you'll probably need a plan that's more personalized.
There are several ways you can communicate with a large number of employees about their benefits, including:
- holding staff meetings before open enrollment or when a new benefit is available.
- mailing or emailing packets of information that employees can review on their own time.
- putting together an online benefits portal that offers tools such as a coverage calculator that employees can access to review their benefits or change their coverage.
- sending mailings or emails that are triggered by life events (such as a birth or marriage) to remind employees about their new options.
One tactic that employees report is effective and useful is one-on-one communication. A recent study found that almost half of employees who gave their companies a benefits communication grade of A or B said that one-on-one meetings were a valuable communication tactic, while only 38 percent said benefits fairs were useful and 42 percent reported that group meetings were valuable.
If you’re considering one-on-one benefits meetings for your company, here are some things you’ll need.
- Materials. When you put together a benefits presentation for a large group of employees, it’s easy to get a stack of packets from your benefits partner and simply hand them out. Employees may be expected to walk through benefits calculators on their own, or with assistance from the vendor through a helpline. When you’re meeting one-on-one with the employee, be sure to have all the materials you need along with any customization or calculator that might be necessary to walk employees through the process. One-on-one meetings put the HR director or benefits director on the line to help the employee with everything.
- Help. Check with your benefits partner to see if they offer a benefits consultant who can come to your office and assist employees with the benefits process. The level of knowledge the partner has can help tailor the benefits to be most effective for each employee.
- Time. The point of one-on-one communication is to give employees the time and space to consider their options and make an informed decision. No one likes to be rushed, and the value of a one-on-one meeting is lost if there isn’t enough time for people to understand what they’re signing up for. When scheduling one-on-one benefits meetings, ensure there’s enough time to go over any questions employees might have.
One-on-one benefits meetings can be offered as an option in addition to large-group meetings or other benefits communications. For companies who want to make their benefits communication more effective, it can be a valuable tool.
Winston Benefits is an HR solutions company that helps businesses enhance and optimize employee benefit plans, enrich compensation and rewards programs, and save money on benefits communication, enrollment and administration. Contact us to learn more.