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6 ways to improve your benefits communication

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Communicating your benefits plan to employees in a way they understand and will act upon can be challenging. And if employees feel their employers don’t understand or appreciate their needs, that disengagement can be costly—according to a Gallup survey, the cost of disengaged workers is estimated to be more than $300 billion annually in lost productivity for U.S. businesses, reports Buck Consultants. The good news: improving communication can increase employee engagement and an organization’s bottom line.

“Research demonstrates that engaged employees are more productive, more customer-focused, more profitable, safer and less likely to leave. That translates into millions of dollars for companies that communicate in a way that keeps employees engaged,” says Scot Marcotte, managing director of talent and HR solutions for Buck Consultants.

To effectively communicate with employees, employers need to be flexible and creative and take a personalized approach to their message. Here are six ways to improve your communications.

1. Know the audience
Take the time to learn about your employees’ life stages, attitudes, needs and preferences, and collect and track this information. It can then be used to tailor your communications.

2. Get personal
Most communications are targeted to a mass audience; however, employees are more likely to act if the company personalizes documents, e-mails, etc. Use variables such as the employee’s name and life events like marriage or the birth of a child.

3. Be creative
Experiment with virtual benefits fairs and training courses to allow employees to connect with benefits representatives and learn about options when it’s convenient for them.

4. Mind the channel
Not all employees prefer to receive information in the same way, so deliver information through a variety of channels (direct mail, e-mail, online, mobile, etc.).

5. Educate
Wellness programs are key to reducing healthcare costs for both employers and employees, while improving productivity and reducing absenteeism. These programs should be clearly communicated to employees, who may not be aware such resources exist.

6. Keep it simple and relevant
Too many choices and too much information can actually impair an individual’s decision-making ability. Simplify by providing relevant examples and incorporating individualized data to explain employees’ options.

 

Original Post – November 29, 2011

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