Three Tips for Communicating Benefits Changes to Employees

November 17, 2016

If you’re like the employers we work with, you’re laser-focused on your day-to-day business. Whether it’s running a law firm, dental office, non-profit, marketing agency, or a myriad of other types of businesses, our customers are busy.

To keep their focus on what matters most to their business, our customers rely on us for communicating with employees about health benefits. Employees have a lot of questions, especially now during the annual open enrollment period.

If you’re an employer that is still managing benefits on your own or with a traditional broker, you might be fielding questions from your employees. Since our account managers and licensed advisors have helped tens of thousands of people, we’ve learned some things that might help:

1. Understand communication preferences and be flexible to match.

We work with each of our employer clients to understand their employee populations and what’s unique about them. Some clients have employees who are tech savvy, already understand the nitty gritty details of health insurance already, and don’t need extra help shopping.

Other clients have employees who prefer to be helped through every step over the phone, and who respond better to printed communications than to email.

Most of the time, our clients need a blend of communication and support tactics; their employee populations are diverse, and there’s no one-size-fits all approach. It’s important to be mindful of your company’s needs, and tailor your communications and support to match.

When possible, it’s a good idea to get as many employees in one place as possible to communicate any changes, since many people may have the same questions or concerns. Summarizing what was talked about as well as any questions (and answers) after the fact helps everyone stay on the same page.

2. Leverage technology to improve the experience for employees.

At Gravie, technology helps us be more human. By having easy access to past notes about an individual, as well as their plan information and specific needs like family members or prescriptions, we can be smarter and ready to serve faster and more accurately. Access to information that’s accurate (and secure) can help get questions answered quicker and reduce frustration.

Technology can also help communication too. Using automated messages and reminders are vital tools for helping employees remember deadlines, understand upcoming key dates, or stay on top of payments. Smart technology can make everybody smarter and more efficient.

3. Remove jargon.

It’s no secret that insurance and benefits terminology is hard to understand. Helping employees and their families understand their benefits means explaining what co-pays, coinsurance, deductibles, HMOs, health savings accounts, and high deductible health plans are in simple terms. Gravie advisors work with employees to explain the details of each plan, what’s covered, and what isn’t. Whenever possible, simplify your benefits communications and cut the jargon.

It may go without saying, but every business is different, and each employee is a different, too. If you’re interested in an approach to benefits that takes the complexity of benefits communication off your plate, (and is easier on employees too!), contact us today.

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