Employee Communications – Start the Year Right

We realize you just finished (survived) open enrollment, and the last thing you want to do is think about communicating any more about benefits. However, the start of new year is one of the best times to make benefits communications a priority.

Employees have a renewed focus. They’ve made resolutions and declarations to better themselves, and that’s probably particularly true after a rough 2020. We encourage you to help your employees start the year off right—when it comes to their benefits!

Here are 10 things we think should be at the top of your list to share with employees.

1. Check paystubs to ensure deductions are correct.

As 2021 benefits go into effect, it’s helpful to confirm everything is correct with the first paycheck of the year. If there are inaccuracies, it’s easier to correct them the earlier they are discovered.

2. Make sure personal contact information is correct before W-2s are mailed/emailed.

With W-2s going out in January, it’s good practice for employees to confirm their mailing addresses—and opt into a paperless version if that’s an option.

3. Submit FSA receipts for 2020 by the deadline.

If employees want reimbursed for 2020 FSA claims, they must submit them by your run-out deadline. Remind them of this deadline!

4. Schedule preventive checkups.

This is always important; but after a year in which many people delayed preventive healthcare, we recommend making this a key focus for 2021.

5. Consider a “raise” to retirement plan contributions.

If we’ve been reminded of one thing in 2020, it’s how important it is to prepare for the future. An increase in contributions—no matter how small—will pay dividends in the future.

6. Keep EAP handy for mental health help.

Employees can generally receive a set amount of counseling appointments free—and so can their dependents. It’s important that employees are reminded often throughout the year that this service is available to them.

7. Know when and how to change benefits.

If employees have a “qualifying life event,” they may be able to make a related change of benefits—if they report and submit the appropriate documentation within your determined timeframe of the event. Help employees understand what life events qualify and the necessary reporting process.

8. Check to make sure your beneficiaries are up-to-date.

On an annual basis, it’s helpful for employees to review their beneficiaries for their life insurance and retirement plans—this ensures their intentions are easily upheld in the event of death.

9. Set up accounts for virtual healthcare options.

The best time for employees to do this is before they (or a family member) need care. Encourage employees to set up accounts while they’re feeling good.

10. Take advantage of financial wellness programs.

Programs like this see an uptick in the beginning of the year, as employees consider how to better budget, pay off debt and save, etc.

Want to chat? Reach out at helloindy@westcomm.com or follow us @westcomm on LinkedIn for more insights.