November 1st marks the beginning of open enrollment season for a majority of U.S. organizations, and we thought it would be timely to look at some startling stats and the latest trends in employee benefit communications.
The good news is this: Employee Benefits have high positive impact on talent attraction and retention:
• 92% of full-time employees believe that companies that offer nontraditional benefits are more likely to recruit top-tier talent (ICIMS)
• 88% of executives agree that benefit programs have the most impact on improving employee loyalty as well as increasing employee engagement and lowering company medical costs (Wells Fargo)
• 75% of employees reported they’re more likely to stay with their employer because of their benefit program (Willis Towers Watson)
• 62% of employees under 50 wouldn’t consider working for a company that didn’t offer voluntary benefits (BenefitsPro)
• 35% of millennials have turned down job offers because they were dissatisfied with the benefits (Anthem)
Though employee benefits are becoming more costly for employers to offer, it’s great to see that they are a worthwhile and well-appreciated expenditure, particularly given the competition for talent and the millennials’ propensity for job hopping and freelancing. Offering a flexible and diverse set of benefits can really be a differentiator, particularly for small and medium-sized companies.
So how can you make sure you’re realizing the maximum impact from your efforts
Different generations in the workplace have different preferences for how they want to receive their information and in many cases, the person responsible for evaluating the different plans and options is not even your employee. Make sure you appeal to each of your audiences by crafting a combination of digital and traditional materials that can be accessed at home and work across a variety of platforms. Provide real-time text updates or the opportunity to downloadable digital assets (worksheets, PDFs, presentations) from a benefits microsite that can be accessed from your intranet, or through an easy-to-remember, password-protected URL (www.mycompanybenefits.com). Hang posters, send emails and postcards and display signage in the cafeteria, digital screens, lockers and gyms.
Remember, you are talking to people. They may have health considerations, financial concerns and families to consider. Their native language isn’t always English. If you’re a benefits administrator, make sure you keep it simple, employing less copy and more visuals, including infographics. Define terms, use FAQ sheets, tutorials, worksheets and videos to ensure that people are opting for the best choices for their situation, vs the ones that initially seem to cost less, or that they may be most familiar with.
Each of us are bombarded with thousands of messages each day so make sure that your benefit communications are breaking through the clutter. Consider a theme or foundational message that you tie to everything. Add a logo. Put a sparkle in your emails by using attention-getting subject lines. Make sure that the envelopes you send home are colorful, clearly marked and iconic. Hold contests and competitions and give away prizes for accomplishing sprints by location or department.
According to an International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans survey, 80% of participants do not open/read materials and 49% don’t understand them. Use the business case and simple strategies to reverse the trend, improve your results and build your talent brand through benefits.