Targeting Your Communication During Open Enrollment

Last year at BerganKDV, our benefits guide was 44 pages long. That’s not a knock against the guide, it was all very good information. But not all the information applies to every employee. And there’s the rub. You have no way of knowing which employee needs to have what exact information for his or her individual circumstance.

But that doesn’t mean we give up on providing a customized experience for our employees! The benefits guide is the destination or source of all things benefit related. Our task is to give that information to employees in easier to digest bites and then guide them to where they can find more information.

And this work will pay off! The 2016 International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ Benefits Communication Survey Results found that among the employers that used benefit communications based on employees’ life stage, 81 percent reported their efforts were successful.

Develop a brand for your open enrollment season.

A branded campaign makes it easier for employees to recognize and relate with the content. Just like your brand campaigns for target audiences outside your organization, it is important to have a consistent brand for your internal target audiences. Open enrollment guides are extremely text heavy, so breaking it up with consistent graphics and using those graphics in your targeted messages will help grab people’s attention.

At BerganKDV, our theme last year was “Rock and Enroll”. You can download our templates for your own use! 

You can kick off your campaign to the entire company, showcasing the brand as well as providing key dates. This year, with so many working from home due to COVID-19, you may want to consider going “old school” and send a postcard to every employee’s household outlining these key dates as your initial campaign launch. This is a good way to notify both your employees and other household members who may be impacted by the benefits that are selected.

Understand your target audiences.

OK, we have a branded template now that employees will become familiar with and we have kicked things off with the initial launch including key dates. Your first task is to separate your employees into target audiences, or groups. Not all employees have the same benefits needs. One common way to segment is by where the employee falls in the talent lifecycle, identify what common concerns would be in that lifecycle stage and potential messages that would resonate. Here is an example:

Messaging for Employee Lifecycle Stages

New to workforce Midcareer parents with dependent children Near retirement
Key focus areas Getting started on saving for retirement, paying off student loans, setting a path for financial success Caring for family benefit needs, daycare expenses, tuition, eldercare for parents Enough savings for retirement, health benefits after retirement, estate planning
Potential messages that would resonate How 401(k) and HSAs work, How do I know what benefits I need in addition to health care? How to weigh which option is best for health benefits, How to calculate how much life and disability insurance you need How to get the most in the final push for health care and retirement savings, including catch-up contributions

 Communicate in sound bites.

  • Less is more. Instead of a long drawn out email, provide a steady drip of emails highlighting targeted messages and focus on dates for open enrollment informational meetings and sign-up periods.
  • Give specific examples based on the target audience.
  • Show people the platform where they will make their selections including screenshots of common things like adding a family member or selecting the health plan they want.
  • Always end with a call to action (CTA). What do you want the reader to do? Register for an informational meeting? Schedule a 1:1 call with a benefits representative? Visit your open enrollment benefits portal? Make sure you are clear in what action you want them to take.

At first glance, targeting your communications may feel more time consuming than a mass communication method where you blast out the same content to everyone and hope you get through to at least some people.

A targeted campaign is a win-win for you and your employees. You will have more engagement and ultimately more educated decisions and tailored choices for your employees’ benefits plan.

CATEGORIES: Human Capital Management
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