Whether you’re gearing up for open enrollment or a social event, motivating employees to participate can be challenging, especially since 90 percent of employees say they would prefer a bonus or extra vacation days to a holiday party. How can you increase enrollment, participation, and registration rates?
- Identify and minimize barriers to participation.
If you’re dealing with lackluster engagement, dig into potential barriers to participation. Do employees need more information, or are they overwhelmed by too much content? Is the paperwork confusing, the timing inconvenient, or is there low interest in the event? Speak with employees to identify specific barriers to participation — then you can remove (or minimize) those roadblocks.
- Simplify your messaging.
People like content that’s easy to understand. When communicating about open enrollment or company events, keep your messages simple. Readability (i.e., how easy it is to read a message) strongly influences readership rates. If you want to improve the readability of your communications, run your emails and updates through a readability scanner. And to make your messages easier to read, use less jargon, fewer acronyms, and shorter sentences.
- Send follow-up communications.
How often do you tell yourself to do something and still forget? You may sometimes feel overly repetitive as a communicator, but studies show that people need to see a message at least seven times before it sinks in. We’re not suggesting that you send the same email seven times (please don’t!), but it can be helpful to distribute similar messages across multiple channels.
- Set and communicate hard deadlines.
Without deadlines, there’s no urgency to enroll in benefits or register for an event. For many people, deadlines are a primary motivator. If you can set multiple deadlines, this can be more effective and less stressful. And for less exciting tasks — like selecting life insurance or other optional coverage — it can be helpful to gamify the process or incentivize participation.
- Use a multi-channel approach.
Your communication approach should go beyond email to include apps, videos, graphics, and virtual calls. By using a visual, multi-channel approach, you can minimize potential barriers. Virtual calls can help you reduce scheduling conflicts, while explainer videos and real-life case studies can help improve employee understanding of complex information. Using multiple channels can also make it easy to distribute automated reminders to smaller segmented employee groups.
Whatever your event, proactive communication can help increase participation. Inform employees about benefits throughout the year — not just during open enrollment. And give folks plenty of time to plan for your annual outing. When delivered in digestible pieces, employees will be less overwhelmed by the content you distribute.