As another season of open enrollment comes to an end, it’s a good opportunity to reevaluate the impact of your internal communications strategy. When discussions begin and end with open enrollment, information about complex benefits may be shared too early or too late, and employees struggle to see the value.
Despite a lack of awareness, you know how carefully your organization considered which benefits to offer. Benefits have incredible potential to enhance the employee experience if you can deliver the right message at the right time. Let’s explore seven reasons why benefits discussions are important to your employer brand and should continue year-round.
1. Increased understanding leads to better utilization.
A natural side effect of hearing the same message more than once is the information begins to stick. Examples include listening to a song on repeat, seeing the same advertisement at each commercial break, or receiving reminders from human resources.
Continuous communication increases awareness and understanding of benefits, which simplifies the decision process for employees when enrollment comes around again. It’s no surprise that enrollment goes up when employees know what’s on the table, how it’s relevant to them, and how to make the most of their benefits.
2. Open communication builds trust and engagement.
It’s one thing to extend an open invitation to employees, saying, “Our door is always open for questions!” It’s another to actively seek connection and share insights that anticipate the needs of employees.
When your organization regularly communicates about benefits and shared values, it transforms connections with employees for increased engagement. Open lines of communication foster an environment of trust where employees feel supported and their work is valued.
3. Year-round dialogue drives retention.
It’s unlikely that receiving all the information at once helps employees understand the personal value and relevance of their benefits. By expanding the conversation to happen throughout the year—not just during open enrollment—you can be more intentional with each message.
What can each benefit say about your employer brand? How can each benefit create an emotional connection? Which moment is right for that message to help employees see themselves at the heart of the brand story? When they envision themselves as the hero, they also envision their future as a brand champion.
4. Culture of health and well-being prevents burnout.
More than just encouraging employees to use their paid time off, regular internal communications about benefits support a larger culture of health and wellness. When employees are empowered to rest and put themselves first, they can come to work with a clear purpose and ready to perform.
5. Clear communications connect to your employee value proposition.
Internal communications are the most direct way to prove your employee value proposition. When messaged correctly, reminders about benefits can make connections that demonstrate reasons to believe in your employer brand.
When you reframe the conversation, each benefit contributes to the brand story of how your organization invests in employees. This encourages the kind of staying power and brand championship that contributes to organizational growth.
6. Greater awareness drives employee referrals.
The remarkable thing about positive experiences is the desire to share them. When employees understand the benefits available to them and how their experience will improve through enrollment, they’re not just benefits anymore—they become a positive experience worth sharing.
By extension, your employees become the biggest advocates for the company, telling friends and family about the incredible benefits they receive. This can attract new candidates to your organization and elevate the number of quality hires through employee referrals.
7. Flexibility allows reactive communications to develop in real time.
Coordinated, long-term communication plans offer agility because ongoing benefits messages aren’t inherently time-sensitive. They can be paused as needed to prioritize critical announcements.
This allows your organization to strategically approach every message with greater resources, focus, and value to employees.
Continue the conversation.
Ongoing benefits discussions not only help employees gain awareness and understanding but also help make employees more valuable to an organization. In many ways, effective internal communications increase engagement, retention, productivity, and employee referrals, contributing substantially toward business outcomes.
If you’re ready to see where the conversation leads, explore Open Enrollment All Year: Your Guide to a Brand-Building Internal Communication Plan.