You want to provide employees with the best benefits and make sure they take advantage of all that your company offers. But it’s a struggle to get employees to pay attention and take appropriate action.

What you need is effective communication to ensure that employees engage in important content so that they can make educated decisions for themselves and/or their families.

How? Take a step back, put yourself in your employees’ shoes (or slippers if they’re working from home) and think your strategy through before pushing send on that email. Avoid the “this is the way we’ve always done things” trap by trying something new and utilizing multiple approaches.

By doing so, you can address the most common benefits challenges you face:

Challenge 1: Introducing a new benefit (e.g., childcare, elder care or pet insurance)

Your company is rolling out a new benefit to all employees. How should you let people know about it? Don’t just jump to email and hope the message gets received. Try various approaches to reach as many employees as possible. 

Solution: Here are a few ideas you can try to pique employees’ interest:

  • Create a special edition newsletter on your company’s benefits and spotlight the brand-new program while providing a refresher on current offerings. A newsletter is a great communication tool because you don’t need to pack it with lots of information, thanks to hyperlinks that take employees to more details.
  • Use workplace communication, such as digital signs or posters, to inform employees who spend time on site.
  • Mail a postcard to employees’ homes. Print communication stands out in a digital world. Plus, most HR benefits may impact employees’ spouses or families. Sending a print piece to the home is a great way to get the employee’s (and family’s) attention.
  • Stir up excitement for the new program with some swag like a mug, mousepad or pen—you can even try face masks or small bottles of hand sanitizer. It’s no surprise that people love free stuff. Give them something to be excited about when launching a new program.

Challenge 2: Encouraging employees to participate in a benefit they’re not taking advantage of

Does this sound familiar? “Very few employees are enrolled in our wellness plan. It’s a great offering; such a shame people are missing out on this opportunity.”

Solution: Here’s how to educate employees and encourage them to take advantage of your offerings:

  • Make a list of HR programs and benefits available to all employees and post it on your intranet to serve as a one-stop shop. The list doesn’t have to be fancy—just provide basic information and necessary links. Include this content as a “quick link” so employees can easily find it.
  • Draft a newsletter or intranet article promoting your all-employee benefits. This article can be pushed via a newsletter or posted to your intranet and spotlighted, so employees don’t miss it.
  • Design a special icon that illustrates that the benefit is available to all. This visual helps employees skim communication and know if it’s available for them.
  • Quiz employees about benefits. Quizzes can reinforce your messaging—plus, they’re fun (especially if you include a prize for participants)! Create a simple multiple-choice quiz. Employees may opt to take it just to be entertained; along the way, they’ll learn something.

Challenge 3: Engaging employees during open enrollment

Open enrollment is here again, but employees often don’t pay attention and scramble to sign up for their benefits at the last minute. You need to break through to get employees’ attention, but how?

Solution: Try something new to reach employees:

  • Kick off open enrollment with a video. Generate excitement via a short, snappy video that tells employees what to expect, key changes for the year and what they need to do. Try to keep it under two minutes to hold employees’ attention.
  • Use personas. Make your company’s benefits relevant to employees through personas—fictional characters that help your staff understand what benefits would work best for them. Having a variety of personas in your open enrollment communication is an effective tool to help employees make choices in a visual way.
  • Meet with employees. Having a conversation is still one of the most effective ways to relay your message. Before open enrollment begins, HR can host small meetings focused on all things open enrollment, diving into company benefits and any changes. Make sure you provide enough time for employees to ask questions.

Remember that you can try different methods, see which work in your organization, then make adjustments going forward. Communication is constantly evolving, and the key is to find approaches that have the greatest impact. You got this!

Originally published on

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