HR Strategies for Communicating Benefits in a Remote Environment

Employee benefits can be difficult to comprehend and challenging to communicate. On top of the complexity, populations often only think about benefits during annual enrollment season.

The global pandemic has pushed many workforces to a remote environment and employers are now forced to navigate benefits communications in the new normal. Ensuring your employees not only understand, but also utilize their full benefits package is a top priority for any HR professional, and it’s now more important than ever to clearly communicate what your organization offers to drive healthier populations.

Continue reading for strategies to communicate your benefits throughout the year and drive utilization.

Meet employees where they are

When communicating your organization’s benefits to employees, keep in mind where your population is – both physically and life stage. If you have a primarily remote workforce, onsite benefits communications strategies won’t be effective. Meet your population where they are by communicating through digital channels. It is also important to recognize employee needs shift throughout the year. From marriage to a new baby or a health scare to a financial issue, your employees are all in different stages of life throughout the year. This makes it critical that you regularly communicate all options available to your population and not solely during annual enrollment season. Various touchpoints throughout the year increase awareness, utilization, and healthy outcomes.

Utilize multiple channels

Your workforce’s physical location will help you determine the appropriate channels to use to communicate. If the pandemic has created a work from home environment for your organization, consider virtual channels to put the information at your employees’ fingertips. If you have a combination of both in-office and remote team members, consider a creative mix of both traditional methods and online communication channels. Here are a few channels to consider to reach your entire population and increase awareness of your organization’s benefits package.

  • Virtual health fairs – While your annual benefits fair may be too big of a risk to host in person, a virtual health fair provides an alternative option. Hosting the fair in a virtual format allows team members to access important health and wellness information on demand, connect with benefits experts to ask questions, and learn all about the benefits options available to them. Additionally, you can upload benefits webinars and videos to the heath fair, including topics such as “What is an HSA”, “How to pick the right medical plan” and “How to utilize your benefits”. Employees can reference the resources during benefits season to make informed choices. In addition, a virtual health fair gives families and team members with non-traditional work hours the opportunity to engage when their schedules allow.
  • Virtual office hours – Benefits information is complex and difficult to digest. Your employees will have questions, so it’s important to provide them with opportunities to speak to the experts and ensure they are enrolling in the right plan and utilizing the right benefits. Consider hosting virtual office hours for team members to ask questions and get one-on-one benefits guidance.
  • Printed materials – Traditional benefits marketing materials remain an effective method to reach your population. Printed materials such as benefits packets and postcards sent to employees’ homes can be used to drive awareness of your benefits package.

Be intentional

When delivering any message to employees remember intentionality matters. Make sure your communications and materials are purposeful and provide clear, concise messaging. This approach positively impacts the team member experience. You know your workforce best, so leverage that strength when considering the tone, positioning, and cadence of your communications. Sending a communication without a thoughtful approach can create a negative experience and cause an employee to overlook the message. Focus on the value your organization’s benefits package delivers to employees and craft messages around it. Tailor messages to speak to your population and their needs – a one-size-fits-all approach to benefits will yield little return. Consider segmenting messages based upon your employee’s healthcare needs and stage of life. A thoughtful, intentional communications strategy can be the difference between your employees not only reading your communications, but also engaging with the content and utilizing the benefits you offer.

While annual enrollment season is a timely opportunity to educate employees on all their benefits available to use, ensure your communications strategy is ongoing. By taking a comprehensive approach, including meeting employees where they are, utilizing a variety of channels, and being intentional about your touchpoints, you can successfully educate your population about what benefits options are available to them that best meet their needs and ultimately improve their health and wellbeing.

As an HR leader, it’s a top priority to ensure your employees are taking full advantage of their health benefits to improve their overall wellbeing.

Learn how Premise Health can help optimize your employee benefits. Contact us today.

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