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Take out the earbuds

Intriguing article from Benefits Pro by Marty Traynor

Walk around any workplace and unless there’s a safety issue, almost every employee under 50 is wearing earbuds and remains focused on their own personal music zone. What a perfect metaphor for the barriers we must overcome to gain the attention we need for benefit purchase decisions.

With the fall enrollment season approaching, let’s consider some of the ways we should work to “remove the buds” and focus employee attention on the process of benefit enrollment.

  • Employer’s earbuds must come out first. Employees are not the only ones ignoring the importance of benefit-related communications. Employers often think a simple introductory email is sufficient. That kind of communication is enough if the goal is to tell employees about an event. However, in no way does this type of message convey importance or opportunity. You must convince the employer that a well-designed campaign will be a big positive for them, both in terms of employee engagement and happiness with employee benefit options.
  • Know your audience. Many otherwise great campaigns have failed because they are tone deaf to their audience. A program benefitting union members better not be littered with “employee” references. The graphics used to illustrate the benefit plan should also be carefully designed to match the demographics of the employee audience. Designers often tend to show “beautiful people,” but benefit plans need to be shown benefitting real people.
  • Use multiple approaches to connect with people. You often hear about the importance of multi-channel benefit communications. Unfortunately, we cannot just say, “Alexa, create a multi-channel campaign to teach employees about their benefits and get them to enroll to best meet their needs.” We must do what’s next best and create a campaign that gives employees information in multiple ways: web details, calculators, videos, printable pieces with brief, explanatory, and detailed options. Use on-site materials such as break room table tents and bulletin board posters to augment e-campaigns.
  • Use “real speak” whenever possible. The benefits business is full of jargon. Studies have shown that words we use all the time are confusing; even a term like “premium” isn’t clear. Most people think of premium as an adjective, meaning “expensive, special or high class.” They don’t see it as an everyday expenditure, but rather as a luxury type of item. So when we say “your premium is affordable,” employees may immediately think we are trying to scam them. Watch the jargon, and use terms that make sense to employees.
  • Get people in front of people. The best way to communicate is in person. Regardless of how effective an employer’s enrollment system is, the most effective communications campaigns still have a human element. Personal meetings, group meetings or call center-based enrollments can all add the personal touch. Without a personal touch, a benefit enrollment campaign may seem empty to many employees.
  • Make sure employees know what’s in it for them. They need to understand the importance of good benefit elections for themselves. This helps ensure they credit their employer for offering a valued program, and ensures they will understand the importance of good choices in enrollment.

Good luck with your fourth quarter enrollments. Earbuds are not noise cancelling headphones, so there is still a great opportunity to break through to employees and make your benefit communications campaigns your best to date.

See the original article Here.


Traynor, M. (2016 September 13). Take out the earbuds. [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address https://www.benefitspro.com/2016/09/13/take-out-the-earbuds?slreturn=1474041704