News for HR Professionals


4 Secrets to Getting Employees Excited About Benefits

Open enrollment season is one of the busiest, most exciting, most demanding times of the year for HR professionals. Communication is the key to making it a success—but it's no longer enough to produce a benefits guide the size of a small telephone book and deliver it to each employee, not least because 80% of employers report that associates don't open or read benefits communications. To capture their attention, you can't just tell them what's available to them; you've got to give them a reason to care. Check out these four tips for getting started.

1. Put first things first.

A full 67% of employees say that reading about benefits is long, complicated or stressful2. Why not make it easier on them by front-loading your communications with the most important information? Instead of discussing what benefits do and how they do it, the Society for Human Resource Management's Open Enrollment Guide recommends putting the result people are looking for first, and then following with how the benefit helps them achieve it3. Attention spans are short, so try to engage them in 30 seconds or less, or they may lose interest and miss critical details.

The solution: Consider frequency of use. What sets Nationwide® apart from other pet insurance providers is our wellness coverage, which provides reimbursement for checkups, vaccines and other services all pets need, as well as for unexpected accidents and injuries.

2. Deliver your message the right way.

Intranet sites. Text messages. Direct mail. Social media. Webinars. There are so many ways to communicate these days, there's no reason not to tailor your delivery options to your audience. One popular method is to segment by generation: according to Strategic HR Inc., baby boomers respond best to in-person meetings, while Generation X prefers email, Generation Y prefers a combination of email and text, and Generation Z likes both text and old-school face-to-face methods4. You also may consider pegging communication methods to employee types, so tech-savvy onsite workers get access to a searchable intranet while satellite offices participate in live-streamed presentations5.

3. Personalize, personalize, personalize.

Evergage reports that a full 88% of marketers see measurable improvements when they personalize their communications6, and according to The International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans1, personalized communication strategies enjoy the highest success rates: 81% for communications personalized by life stage, and 73 percent for those customized for multiple generations. With that in mind, add a personal touch wherever you can by tying benefits to real-life situations employees will identify with—for example, adding a child to the family or welcoming a new pet into their home.

4. Offer additional resources.

Nearly a third of employees will need additional benefits information before your next open enrollment period2, so plan ahead for it by creating a central repository, such as an intranet site, to house FAQs and reference materials. And, don't forget human contacts: whether at a benefits fair or via telephone or email, 61% of employees say a benefits advisor or broker is a source of trusted advice2. Both types of resources should remain available all year round for employees to access or reach out to when needed.

By following these steps, you should be well on your way to a great open enrollment season. If you offer Nationwide® pet insurance, don't forget to ask your account representative for your free open enrollment kit, which comes complete with a table sign, flier, and goodies to get employees excited. We look forward to supporting you!

  1. The International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans' Benefits Communication Survey
  2. 2017 Aflac WorkForces Report
  3. SHRM Open Enrollment Guide: "How to Explain Benefits to Employees Who Don't Care"
  4. Strategic HR Inc: "What Types of Business Communication Methods Work Best With Employees?"
  5. Collective Health: "A Marketer's Guide to Open Enrollment"'s%20Guide%20to%20Open%20Enrollment.pdf?t=1532865842329
  6. New Evergage Study Shows Compelling Personalization Benefits – But There's Still Room for Improvement in Executing Campaigns