Are Employers Getting Better at Benefits Communication?

Employers may be getting better at communicating about benefits during open enrollment. In a recent Employee Benefit News article, Caroline Hroncich reported that about 65 percent of employees chose new benefits during enrollment and credited their employer for using a variety of communication methods to keep them informed, according to a recent survey from Prudential. Some 35 percent of workers chose the same benefits but still made an informed decision.

Some employers are rethinking their communications strategies. Benefits communication needs to be targeted, more individualized and more personalized. There’s a lot of focus in the industry to have that engagement year-round.

While employers have been making more of an effort to communicate about benefits during open enrollment, not everyone is getting it right. A recent survey from MetLife found that employees fear enrolling in their benefits almost as much as they dread renewing a driver’s license or passport. Some 45% of workers say they are apprehensive about the open enrollment process — the same number fear asking for a raise.

HR teams don’t have to go far to find employees who are disgruntled because of open enrollment — workers often voice their concerns on social media. Much of this frustration still has to do with poor communication on the part of the employer.

But there are ways employers can improve their communications strategies. Personalizing the process could offer one solution. Tailoring communications to employees at different life stages could help employees better understand why they need certain benefits.

According to the article, some call it cohort communication. You have to engage your different populations at work with different messages. The employers who do that successfully are seeing the appropriate utilization of benefits and the appropriate coverage. Technology can also make a difference. Online tools that guide workers through the benefits selection process, and suggest appropriate amounts of coverage, could help employees make better benefits decisions.

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