News & Content: Member Blog

5 Roadblocks to Benefit Plan Success

Monday, January 28, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kaylin Berg
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Joe Spallina, Vice President of Employee Benefits, Assurance Agency


Don't let these things stand in the way of your benefit plan engagement.

The lack of benefit plan engagement is a major source of contention for many organizations. Benefit programs are one of the most costly line item expenses for an organization, yet they’re often under-appreciated from our employees’ vantage point. Why is this such a common issue? And more importantly, what can we do to change it?

Here are 5 roadblocks that could be standing in the way of your benefit plan’s success:

1. Strategy and actions don’t align.

 We often create a strategy to drive awareness or save money, but then don’t follow through on the action of deploying communications that are meaningful enough to create success around those goals. If we want to migrate 15% of employees over to a high deductible health plan with a health savings account (HDHP/HSA), you’ll need to provide your folks with ample tools and resources to make that educated decision come open enrollment time. Open enrollment is not the time to do this. There are 11 other months in the year to help work towards these goals.

2. Benefits materials don’t stand out.

 A strong benefits brand allows what you communicate about your benefits to feel recognizable, reliable and credible. A branded program grabs attention and helps employees realize that what they’re reading is important. And the key is making certain that all communications, both internal and external, have a consistent look, feel, tone and message around them.

3. Organization is M.I.A.

 Offering an easy way for employees and their families to locate their benefit materials year-round is essential in furthering engagement. House all benefit-specific information and communication materials in one place that’s easy to access. Consider removing the barriers to that information by eliminating things like passwords when you’re not dealing with anything personal. And don’t forget to promote the heck out of where you store this information.

4. Communications aren’t simply written.

 It doesn’t matter who your audience is; your benefit communications need to be written at a sixth-grade reading level. Benefit nerds like us know what SPD or HDHP stands for. We fully understand a phrase like “embedded vs. aggregate deductible.” But the reality is the average employee has no clue. Communications need to be created to fully understand the message and easily digest the information to achieve the desired call to action.

5. Messages aren’t received.

 Gone are the days of one-size-fits all communication strategies. Understand that there are differences in how your employees absorb what you’re saying. This means, mix up the way you’re saying things so you’re actually heard. If you only rely on one channel to spread benefit messages, try mixing it up with more of a mix of push (i.e. email, print) and pull (i.e. benefits website, videos) channels.

This post originally appeared on the Assurance blog, here.

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