Why are most employees confused about their benefits?

How to increase employee benefits satisfaction, simply by writing more relevant communications. 

While low employee engagement during open enrollment many indicate otherwise, employees do actually care about their benefits. In fact, this study found that 72.1% of employees said benefits would increase their job satisfaction.

So, what’s the issue? It’s a communications problem! League and Harvard Business Review report that “Large numbers of employees lack the knowledge they need to choose the health benefits program that best suits them.” Many employees don’t know what health benefits they’re eligible for, and the majority of employees don’t understand the full value of company-provided benefits.

Fortunately, HR and internal communicators can help minimize confusion by segmenting audiences and writing more targeted and relevant communications.

The key is to start the process early, and divide your audience into smaller, more-focused segments. You may need some help gathering the lists, and time to write more personalized communications, but doing so creates a more employee-centered benefits experience—and a less confusing one!

3 Key Audience Segments for Open Enrollment Communications

As we’ve written about before, common audience segments include age, tenure, location, engagement, and participants versus non-participants. If you want to demonstrate that you understand the diverse needs of your employees, here are three key audience segments to write for during open enrollment season.

Younger employees. What do young employees care about when it comes to employee benefits? Considering the needs of recent graduates, one notable benefit may be student loan repayment—a newer benefit only offered by 8% of employers according to SHRM’s 2019 Employee Benefits Survey. If you offer loan repayment, or other education-based benefits, highlight these offerings when communicating with younger employees.

Working parents. SHRM’s Family-Friendly and Wellness report shows that organizations are adding more benefits to help new parents: mother’s rooms, lactation support services, and on-ramping programs for parents re-entering the workforce. As you write your open enrollment communications, consider what matters most to working parents.

Older employees. Citing the aging U.S. population, the SHRM report says that “…employers should expect more workers to want elder care benefits.” Some workers may need help as they care for both minor children and aging parents. As you write emails for your older segment of employees, consider how their life stage impacts their priorities.

While some benefits like health insurance and mental wellness programs are relevant to all employees, other benefits like childcare and elder care benefits are only relevant to small segments of your employee base. To increase employee understanding of your benefits packages, avoid producing huge, one-size-fits-all communications programs. Help individuals better understand which benefits work best for their life situation, by putting yourself in their shoes. Consider recording short videos using their own words!

Take time to write targeted messages to segmented audiences. Employees do care about their benefits, they just struggle to understand them, so you can increase employee engagement through better communication.

Why aren’t you targeting your open enrollment communications to specific audience segments?

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