When I began my career, I never paid close attention to the benefit programs offered by my employer. Sure, I was aware of the popular employee benefits, such as a 401(k), but as a single, healthy adult, not many other benefits appealed to me.

It wasn’t until I hit major life milestones—moved out, got married and started a family—that I began to look at all the benefit programs available. But even with all the details at my fingertips, it was challenging to decide which benefits were best for my situation.

During my personal discovery about benefits needs, the light bulb went off: What about organizing benefits based on life events? Not only would this help employees navigate complex information, but it would enhance the decision-making experience.

Here are three ways to implement this idea across your communication materials:

1. Group benefits based on milestones
Categorize your programs according to major life events and incorporate them into your next benefits brochure. While many life events are obvious (turning 26, marriage, a birth or adoption and a child starting college), try organizing benefits based on time. For example, decisions to consider in your 20s, 30s, etc.

2. Develop profiles
Build profiles of typical employees based on your organization’s demographics and illustrate the selections each person makes based on his/her situation. For example, you might develop the picture of a married employee in his early 30s, who earns $60,000 a year. Both he and his spouse are healthy and rarely have visits to the doctor. But they are planning to start a family this year. He chooses the high deductible plan and contributes extra to his health savings account to cover co-pays and emergencies. He also decides to increase his 401(k) contribution while his childcare expenses are low.

The goal is to provide enough details of each fictional employee’s situation and the choices he/she makes, so your employees can imagine how to align their personal situations with their benefit selections—especially as their needs change over time. You can share the profiles in overview brochures, webinars and training modules.

3. Share employee testimonials
Recommendations from peers are powerful motivators: Develop a series of statements or quotes, so employees understand how colleagues value and use benefits. Facilitate a focus group or conduct interviews with employees in different stages of life to find out what benefits worked well for them and why. Include the testimonials in your employee benefits communication; for example, short videos, newsletter articles or posters.

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