4 tips for how to talk benefits with millennials

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For many, the terms “techy,” “entitled” and maybe even “lazy” rush to the top of the list. However, today’s millennials are actually more global, civic-minded and financially-conscious than any other generation. And, according to the Pew Research Center, they now represent 35 percent of today’s workforce.

But, these millennials are also now coming of age and getting married and starting families. And yes, purchasing more benefits products through their employers.

As these millennials grow up, it’s important to know how to best communicate with them about benefits — because it may be a whole lot different than how you’ve communicated with employees in the past.

With Gen X, Gen Y and Baby Boomers, communicating about benefits was relatively straight-forward. You probably used tools like email, in-person meetings, flyers and newsletters. And messaging probably revolved around safety, reducing risk and explaining the finer points of the benefits themselves.

But millennials are a little different. They’re more digitally fluent than other generations. They’re demanding more flexibility — in their work and family lives. And, they’re increasingly cost-conscious.

So, communicating about benefits with this group requires a somewhat different approach. Here are four tips for how to reach and talk with millennials more effectively about benefits:

· Stay out of the weeds. When it comes to benefits, millennials aren’t as concerned about the details of their insurance plans. They want to understand the basics – what’s covered, how much it costs, and why they might consider a specific offering over another. So resist the urge to focus on the fine print, and keep your messaging at the higher levels. Stick to messaging that hits home with these younger people and keep talking points at the 10,000-foot level initially.
· Play to millennials’ emotions. The biggest learning we’ve picked up over the last few years when communicating with millennials has been to focus messaging on making an emotional connection. Highlight the peace of mind benefits will provide. Discuss the fact that purchasing benefits like disability, life and critical illness insurance through your employer is the right, and responsible, thing to do. In our recent survey of millennials, “providing peace of mind” and “it’s the responsible thing to do” were the number-one and number-two reasons millennials gave for why they enrolled in key benefit areas.
· Don’t over-rely on digital communications channels. Given the reputation millennials have for using digital technologies, it would be easy to assume communicating with them via text messages and social media would be the way to go. But, that’s not what we’ve found. According to our research, millennials listed “meeting in person” and “calling a representative” as their top preferred channels for communicating during enrollment periods — followed by digital communications channels. Surprising, right? But, it probably shouldn’t be given millennials desire for more personalization in multiple facets of their lives.
· Stress value and convenience whenever possible. Millennials react favorably to messaging around value and convenience — so be sure to hit on those angles throughout the enrollment process. For example, explain why coverage is needed or why an employer-paid policy is not enough. Talk about benefit policy costs in comparison to other low-cost items, like a daily cup of coffee. Discuss the value of employer contributions — and what those contributions can mean to millennials’ bottom lines. Finally, make sure to share the convenience and ease of payroll deductions; their employer is making the deduction and payment for them. Weaving these value and convenience messages in throughout the enrollment process can make a big difference with millennials.

Three is the Magic Number

One more important item to note: when communicating with millennials about benefits, remember to communicate a minimum of three times. That’s the magic number. In our research, we found that employees remembered and appreciated benefits more when they saw three or more distinct communications. In fact, 72 percent of employees who received three types of benefits communication rate themselves “likely” or “very likely” to recommend their employer based specifically on their benefits program.

Millennials are planning ahead. They’re getting married and starting families. And, they’re looking for personal and professional offerings from their employers that are unique to them—including benefits. Be sure you’re ready to talk with these millennials using the right messaging, the right tools and the right cadence to ensure success.

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