Partnering Internal Communications with HR for Benefits Enrollment To Increase Participation

Who coordinates open enrollment communications at your organization? HR or internal comms? Since HR has a thorough understanding of your benefits packages, they often take the lead, but internal comms should also play a large role in benefits communications. If employees don’t understand their benefits options, it doesn’t matter how competitive the packages are.

And unfortunately, a lot of folks are confused. In fact, according to new research, 66% of working Americans want their employer to help them better understand the benefits. And 78% of millennials say they would like more communications about their workplace benefits throughout 2021. Clearly, there’s room for improvement when it comes to benefits enrollment communications.

How can you make your content more inclusive, accessible, and effective? Here are a few ways your internal communications team can partner with HR to improve your benefits enrollment communications this year.

  1. Create diverse content that meets your team’s learning styles. How can you collaborate with HR to repackage and repurpose complex benefits information? If HR hosts a benefits enrollment webinar, consider how internal comms can repurpose that recording into more digestible short-form videos, employee blog content, or printed one-pagers. By offering content in different formats via various channels, you can meet the diverse learning styles of your employees.
  2. Simplify benefits and insurance terminology. If HR excels at understanding the benefits plans, internal comms should excel at explaining the plans in layman’s terms. If you are confused by HR’s explanation (or the provider’s lingo), so are your employees. How can you simplify your benefits communications by eliminating jargon? This may require internal interviews with HR and benefits specialists. Encourage HR folks to answer your questions like they’re explaining something to a fifth-grader.
  3. Co-create stories and examples. When you promote your organization’s benefits offerings, include examples to illustrate how the benefits actually help your people. For instance, when you discuss family-building benefits (e.g. fertility, adoption, foster), share a member story with your employees. When you highlight a telehealth program that includes mental health counseling, point out how an employee can use telehealth benefits to manage their stress or generalized anxiety. By collaborating with HR, you can generate anonymized examples that resonate with your people.
  4. Recognize benefits enrollment as a year-round effort. Although enrollment typically happens during Q4, benefits communications should be happening throughout the year. Well before enrollment season begins, start integrating benefits copy into your messaging and promoting important deadlines in your comms. It may be helpful to collaborate with HR to create a content calendar that’s built around the most important benefits enrollment deadlines.

When organizations improve benefits enrollment communications with the help of the internal communications team, HR can reach more employees and increase open enrollment turnout. Work together to create content that accounts for various learning styles, eliminates confusing jargon, provides examples that better illustrate your offerings, and recognizes this as a year-round effort.

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