Open enrollment may be behind you. You may have sent notices as required by law to all plan participants. You may be ready to hang up your employee communications hat and call it a year.
Not so fast, my friend.
How about a quick look back at your efforts? More importantly, how about a promise to employees to communicate more in 2016? And finally, how about a gut check: Are you meeting employees where they are?
For communicators, things have never looked brighter. We have more to talk about (hello Affordable Care Act and all its accompanying communication “opportunities”); we have more ways to do it (Did you ever imagine you’d be texting employees about open enrollment deadlines?); and we have more platforms from which to choose (Videos? People actually want and love to learn about their benefits on video?!).
It’s true. We have an obligation to meet employees where they are, whether that’s online late at night sharing benefit details with their significant others (Is the information easily accessible or is it just on an intranet platform?), on their smart phones (trust me, it’s a no brainer) or even on a 2 a.m. Q&A call for employees who work nights. Meet them where they are.
And how about keeping the dialogue going all year? Everyone expects to hear from you at open enrollment, but what about the other 11¾ months of the year? How about if you dazzle employees with well thought out, year-round communications? Employees will be surprised and happy to know you care about them, and you’ll wind up with better informed advocates.
What will you get for these extra investments in time, energy and maybe even technology? You’ll get happier clients. You’ll get happier employees. You’ll get engaged employees. You’ll get benefits-savvy employees. You’ll get employees making smart decisions about their healthcare. And that often translates into healthier employees and lower medical costs for the company. Worth it? So worth it.
What’s standing in the way of meeting employees where they are? Is it cost? Is it time? Is it simply know-how? A seasoned communicator will know what’s available, at what cost and at what reward. Take my advice: the best communications are yet to come. And your clients’ employees are worth it. Go ahead, reach out and meet them where they are.
Wilcox is assistant vice president and director of communications for Lockton Benefit Group. Reach her at (816) 751-2270 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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