New Year, New Opportunities to Highlight Your Benefits

The beginning of the year is a great time to make some meaningful resolutions about your benefits communications. To get started, cast your mind back at the year in the rearview mirror: Did you have regular touchpoints with employees about their benefits, or did they hear from you only during annual enrollment? Revisit your tactics: Were your employees partial to one communication type over another? Infographics over brochures? Texts over emails? Decide what needs changing. Now’s your chance to make a good start.

You probably already know it’s not ideal to talk about benefits with your employees only at enrollment time. Regular communication helps employees take full advantage of their benefits by offering them timely resources, and it helps you build trust with employees. The right cadence depends on your company’s culture and what’s happening within the organization – some teams like monthly benefits newsletters, where others find quarterly campaigns sufficient. Creating a year-long communications plan – one that considers competing communication priorities – is something you can do right now and reap the rewards of all year long.

Filling out your year-round communications strategy

Here are some ideas for promoting benefits throughout the year.

  • Start with listening. When was the last time you asked your employees what they want and need from benefits communications? If it’s feasible, take a quick pulse survey to find out what information employees need, what they might be confused about, how often they want to receive communications, and in what format. This can help you build a more effective communication plan for the year.
  • Focus on action. At the start of the year, when benefits change or new benefits become available, consider sending employees a quick checklist of information they need to know or actions they need to take. For instance, employees may need to be on the lookout for new ID cards or need information about how the plan they selected a few months back will actually play out for them when they need to seek care in the year ahead.
  • Prioritize wellness. Have a wellness program? Increase engagement by spotlighting it while New Year commitments to self-improvement are still top of mind – and keep communicating about wellness later in the year as a resolution reminder.
  • Align your communications with moments of national awareness or appreciation. February is National Heart Month, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. These are great opportunities to promote your health and wellness benefits. But there’s also Home Office Safety and Security Week, International Women’s Day, and Financial Literacy Month in April. Get creative about opportunities to promote programs that might not get the attention they deserve.
  • Target employee groups that need extra support year-round. Consider outreach to employee groups that could benefit from resources created just for them – for example, people with diabetes, new parents, or caretakers of elderly parents. Create resource guides or toolkits that feature the programs, policies, and benefits that can support them – all in one place. When employees are struggling or facing new challenges, they’ll appreciate the benefits team that provides holistic support.

With a little forethought and planning, your annual benefits communication plan can have a big impact. Ongoing communication increases plan participation rates and helps employees understand their benefits, so they can get the support they need, when they need it. And by building trust and awareness with your people, thoughtful benefits communication can help you position your organization as an employer of choice.

Need help creating your annual strategy? Give us a call.