Capturing and maintaining employees’ attention can be quite a challenge (if you’re surprised by this statement, please let us know your secret!).

As an HR or internal communications leader, you possess valuable knowledge about open enrollment, and your ultimate goal is to ensure that employees not only receive but also engage with the materials you distribute. A great way to achieve this is by adopting a different perspective – put yourself in the shoes of your employees. Imagine a scenario where you lack the knowledge you possess about benefits and ask yourself this fundamental question:

What is it that employees want to know (versus what I want to tell them)?  

To help you, we’ve asked some people who don’t work in benefits but make benefit decisions for themselves and their families every year during open enrollment. We’ve compiled their answers into a list we hope is helpful to you in your communication planning! 

Inquiring Minds Want to Know 

What’s changing. Employees need to know if there are changes to plans, new carriers, and new premiums. If there are changes, they want to understand how they will be impacted—whether that’s financially or in the amount of coverage.

What’s new. New benefits mean new choices. Plus, they can make employees feel like you’re giving them more—and that’s positive for retention.  

Health benefits.Without a doubt, this is the benefit category employees care about most. Medical insurance tops the list, followed by pharmacy, dental and vision. They also want to know about specialists (Do they need referrals? How much coverage is provided?) and specialty services (Does your dental plan include provisions for those with disabilities? Does your vision benefit check for more serious conditions associated with poor vision? Is there mail order on prescriptions?). This is such a big-ticket item for many families, so employees not only want to know the details of the plans, but also how the plans actually work and if there are ways you’re helping them, like HSA contributions and/or wellness incentives.

Mental health benefits. Many employees face mental health challenges—whether personally or within their family—and they want to know that you care and have resources to help them. Those benefits might include EAP and free counseling sessions, digital tools and resources, and mental health coverage on medical and prescription plans. 

Flexibility. Your employees will be looking for benefits that can adapt to their needs. These may include PTO, sick leave, backup care, childcare databases and more. 

Voluntary benefits: Many employees know they may elect voluntary benefits (i.e., accident or critical illness insurance) but they don’t always understand why they may want to take advantage of them. You’ll want to help employees understand that services are generally discounted due to special group rates, well-vetted and packed with flexible options. Most of all, voluntary benefits are designed to provide a financial safety net should traditional insurance be inadequate. Consider including scenarios in your communications that illustrate the voluntary benefits you offer to help employees grasp how a particular benefit can aid them during an unexpected time of need. 

Student loan support. According to a study by The Society for Human Resource Management, 43 million Americans hold student loan debt and face increased financial stress. If you offer tuition assistance/reimbursement, student loan repayment, loan payments in exchange for unused PTO, etc., make sure your employees know about it!  

Need Help?  If you need help figuring out how capture your employees’ attention during OE, we can help. Reach out at helloindy@westcomm.com today! 

Benefit Communications Report: Insights Into What Matters

We have a pulse on the state of benefit communications, and you can too! Learn the top three challenges facing employee benefits professionals, common communication tools, and how to measure success.

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