Tips for Communicating Employee Benefits for Maximum Impact

Tips for Communicating Employee Benefits for Maximum Impact

Benefits packages come standard with full-time employment, yet employees don’t always get the most out of them. When this happens, organizations can miss the opportunity to engage, retain, and reward their people. Many times, it’s not the quality of benefits that’s lacking, it’s the awareness. Take your employee benefits communication outside of the open enrollment blitz and incorporate it into the heartbeat of your culture.

1. Highlight Benefits as a Career Perk

Start your courtship with potential new employees with an engaging overview of how compensation goes beyond salary and vacation time. Highlight your benefits package on your careers page, within external job postings, and on employment review sites. Encourage current employees to chime in to reinforce the accuracy of your overview, providing social proof and attracting applicants.

Showcase your offer and specify the rates, limits, and exclusions to be transparent while celebrating your benefits package. Many potential applicants rule out employers whose benefits information is abbreviated or even nonexistent. Put your best data forward and get specific about what your employees enjoy through their benefits package. Applicants can more accurately assess if your openings are a good fit, which can improve hiring times and offer acceptance.

Share how your employees use your benefits to reinforce their value and relevance to target candidates. If your team uses your corporate discount program to book travel, incorporate that on LinkedIn or your company blog. Use that opportunity to share details about your paid time off process and how your team supports one another’s well-being. Together, you can blend culture, benefits, and recruitment authentically, improving engagement and interest in your program.

2. Clarify the Details to Boost Understanding

Featuring plan rates, limits, and details in an accessible way is only the first step in improving benefit utilization. To reduce barriers between having and using great employee benefits, you have to educate and sometimes translate their meaning. Take an honest look at your current benefits communication and identify jargon, unnecessary wordiness, and legalese that might be confusing. Next, review employee feedback gathered from recent employee engagement surveys. If you don’t have this data, start gathering it to get an accurate understanding of your team’s stance on benefits.

Once you have actionable data, identify ways to break down complex information into digestible pieces through the right channel. Think about where the message is, who delivers it, and when it’s sent. Organizations may find success easiest when they leverage an existing group that’s already trusted, like their culture and engagement team. Culture teams typically consist of representation across departments and age ranges, bringing insight and buy-in from multiple areas.

Benefits leaders can partner with culture groups, educating them on what’s offered and pointing out missed opportunities. Focus on educating these groups and then letting them devise how to communicate and engage their colleagues. Culture teams are accustomed to developing novel and fun ways to bring people together which can feel less corporate.

Another strategy is to designate a health or benefits champion to help deliver messages and encourage team success. This individual might be a fitness fanatic or have a unique personal story that relates to your wellness program. Others might be internal thought leaders that colleagues already look to for guidance. Leverage your go-to team members as benefits champions who encourage your employees to get the most out of their rewards.

3. Appeal to Employees at Every Life Stage

Your employee benefits package will have a different impact on employees during each stage and phase of their lives. Single, married, parenting, sandwich generation, empty nester, or pre-retirement employees have varying demands on their lives and finances. Do surveys to understand their unique needs and look outward to what larger sample sets in the market say, too. This can keep your strategies aligned with what future team members might need and ensure your view isn’t too narrow. 

Resist the urge to go all-in on trendy or niche perks like ping-pong tables and beer on tap. Focus on providing solid core benefits and a suite of perks, discounts, and allowances that enhance the employee experience. Package benefits information in an engaging way, similar to how you’d market products to a potential customer. Present details on your intranet that are visually appealing and helpful, using charts, graphics, and engaging details like GIFs. This extra touch can reduce the friction between thinking of using a benefit and actually taking action.

Nurture your engagement strategies beyond the annual open enrollment period and develop internal communications to inspire the adoption of employee benefits. Craft an engagement calendar, aligning messaging with relevant events or months. For example, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so you might highlight your employee assistance program and therapy benefits. By centering your messaging on an event or milestone, you have a more natural conversation starter and call to action.

Integrate Your Benefits Program Into Your Organizational Culture

You want to attract, empower, and retain the best employees possible and your benefits package can help drive results. Do more than offer a great benefits program, integrate it into your culture and how you care for your people. Prioritize cross-training to make taking time off less stressful and disruptive. This way, team members can use their employee discount program with the reassurance their team has everything covered. Upgrade your practices to support your people, and you’ll make a positive impact in your industry and your people’s lives.