The world has gone remote. We are all making adjustments to keep our heads above water, but your charge as a benefits professional hasn’t changed. Open enrollment is coming and you still need to communicate benefits to your workforce to ensure employees understand and value their benefits.
It’s difficult adjusting from face-to-face engagements to a completely digital environment, but fortunately, there are a ton of tools & strategies to help with this transition. When you implement the proper tools and take the right steps, your benefits department will walk out of this turmoil far more efficient and effective than before.
Getting your employees to engage digitally is both a science and an art, and we’re going to share a few tips on how to make this year’s open enrollment and benefits communication a success.
But first, you need to get in the right mindset.
There's a secret to getting more of your employees to respond to your benefits messaging...
What’s the secret?
You need to think like a digital marketer.
It’s easy to think of digital marketing as a separate skill from benefits engagement, but they share a lot of similarities. Your marketing team uses their digital skills to reach new customers, and you use yours to reach your employees. The same tactics apply.
In other words, you may want to treat your employees like prospects or leads. By thinking in terms of digital strategy, you can boost your engagement and make sure you reach every employee.
Here are three digital marketing tactics you can use with every communication decision:
1. Focus your messaging on the benefits your employees receive.
A fundamental best practice in copywriting is to always talk about the benefits the audience receives and not the successes of the speaker. The easiest way to do this is by speaking in the 2nd-person.
Instead of, “We bought this amazing new benefits administration software!”
Try, “Get through open enrollment in half the time with this slick new benefits administration software!”
In addition, make sure to include a clear and concise description to accelerate adoption.
Instead of, “This new tool makes enrollment easy.”
Try, “This new tool will thoroughly explain your options so you can ensure you’re making the best decision for your healthcare.”
2. Simplify the process.
When introducing a new tool or process, it’s important to keep it simple. Try to reduce as much friction as possible to overcome initial resistance. The fewer the steps and the better the tools you provide, the more participation you will have, resulting in immense time and money savings.
3. Test variables and evaluate results.
Be scientific by making note of what works and what doesn’t when reaching out. Use tools that offer thorough and easy analytics and refer to them on a regular basis. Over time you will have a better idea of how to speak to your employees, and you can take your insights and use them year after year.
Those three tactics get to the heart of copywriting, user experience/interface, and A/B testing — three fundamental components of digital marketing. Begin to use them and you’re bound to improve your employee benefit communication and education outcomes.
6 Tips for Digital Employee Benefits Engagement:
Now that we’ve covered the big picture, let’s talk specifics. Here are six effective ways to boost your employee benefits engagement in a digital world:
Tip #1: Set clear goals by using key performance indicators (KPIs)
Before you can accomplish anything, you need to know what you’re trying to accomplish. Identify the clear engagement steps an employee can take, make sure you can measure them, and then use them to gauge your efforts. In digital marketing, these are known as key performance indicators, or KPIs.
There are many KPIs you can establish in order to track results and they may vary from company to company. Here are a few examples of benefit team KPIs:
- Percentage increase of employees using certain benefits
- Number of employees who use the tools you offer (new account creations, etc.)
- Open & click rates on emails
Once you’ve identified the 2-3 most important KPIs for your department, set clear, actionable, and achievable goals around each of them (i.e. increase HSA utilization from 20% to 25% in 2020).
You can use employee surveys to get benchmark data when it comes to measuring employee sentiment. Google Forms, Survey Monkey, and Typeform are a few that make it easy to create surveys and analyze results.
Tip #2: Don’t slack on internal branding
Your goal should be to bring energy to each and every touchpoint. Try to make your messaging as beautiful, interesting, and even funny as possible. You can emulate your favorite brands to create your own internal brand persona or piggyback on your company’s internal culture.
Once you finalize your internal brand, make sure to be clear and consistent in your colors and styles, and link employees to reliable centralized assets.
Tip #3: Make every touchpoint useful & focused
As you know, there are a ton of details to communicate when it comes to benefits. Make sure you communicate the details that matter the most first and try to leave some that aren’t as crucial for employees to discover later. Every email, event, and campaign should be focused around your KPIs and provide information that directly highlights the benefits employees will receive. Every piece of stale communication diminishes future efforts.
Tip #4: Experiment with multiple channels
Without physical interaction, you’ll need to communicate with people more often and meet them where they are. The easiest way to do this is by exploring different digital channels. The idea is to get outside of your comfort zone without spreading yourself too thin.
Here are a few options you can experiment with:
- Virtual one-on-ones
- Personal videos to highlight new benefits or tools (Vidyard is great for this)
- Specific web pages with FAQs or other useful information
And whatever you do, do it well. If you notice communication quality drops, then reduce the number of channels you’re utilizing and focus on the most effective.
Tip #5: Make benefits decisions as easy as possible for your employees
There’s a concept in digital marketing known as conversion rate optimization or CRO. It’s the practice of changing variables in order to increase engagement on key pages, like buying on a checkout page. More often than not, the two easiest ways to get better results are to reduce the number of clicks needed and use well-designed tools.
Benefits decision support tools, such as Picwell DX, can help you streamline decisions by giving employees an experience that walks them through the process. These pointed tools make enrollment simple for both benefits professionals as well. They look fantastic, and all benefits leaders have to do is refer employees to the portal. It’s that easy.
Here’s an example of how simple enrollment can be:
- Employees review changes from their previous enrollment.
- The decision support tool walks them through their best options based on scientific data and the employee’s unique health profile, making the math and analysis easy for each employee to understand.
- Employees are instructed to enroll directly from the tool through links to relevant websites, benefits enrollment tools, and benefits administration platforms for each benefit they select.
That’s it. No paperwork, fewer questions, much less work, and higher accuracy. You also receive reports showing which benefits your employees are exploring, which gives you insights to use in future education and benefit offerings.
Tip #6: Track results and adjust accordingly
You can think of digital decision support tools like smart, digital annual benefits enrollment guides of the future. They may not replace your traditional PDF enrollment guide, but they can complement them in today’s virtual workplace. These tools can also give you better data on which benefits your employees spend time reviewing.
You can’t get better if you aren’t sure what is working. Using tools with smart analytics like Picwell's post-enrollment insights help you discover key attributes like risk tolerance, capacity for shock bills, and which plans are best for your employees.
You can then use that data to shape your future benefits strategy, improving your approach to education, communication, plan designs, and new benefits offerings.
It’s time to be proactive.
Unfortunately, having great benefits isn’t enough. If you don’t communicate your benefits properly, then your loyalty and retention will needlessly suffer. Don’t lose highly-skilled, talented employees because they weren’t aware of everything your organization had to offer.
Employees need more support now than ever, and by thinking like a digital marketer and equipping yourself with the best software, you can empower your employees to make great retirement decisions while saving your company money when it needs it most.
Save serious cash while supporting your employees with a decision support tool built to educate & empower your employees. Get more information about Picwell DX.