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It’s critical to appropriately communicate employee benefits changes and packages with your workforce in a concise, understandable way and clearly explains everything in detail to your staff. While we’ve written about employee benefits before, communication in the workplace is changing rapidly. With annual open enrollment just around the corner, we’ll share some of the ways you can relay this information to your employees so this discussion can be productive and informative. And as we’ve stated in a previous article, if your employees don’t understand their benefits, your organization is missing out on the “benefit” of providing a benefits package in the first place!
Projections Inc. specializes in effective communication techniques to deliver training, professional video, and eLearning solutions and has nearly 40 years of experience helping employers connect with their workforce. Along with our partners, UnionProof and A Better Leader, we work closely with employers and HR professionals to build strong cultures with engaged employees.
HR professionals need to understand how to communicate effectively with their workforce in all situations, not just when it comes to explaining benefits and changes. Especially with the current climate and many employees working remotely, communication can be tricky. Simply put, you really can’t over-communicate with your employees when it comes to explaining changes to benefits changes. Even “small” or seemingly insignificant changes that may appear not to affect many of your employees, if any, of them still need to be shared and communicated with the workplace. Make sure you share anything and everything that is relayed to you — and why decisions were made. This will ensure your team members trust you and your expertise and understand why changes were made to their plans.
When it comes to communicating changes, keep the following in mind:
Your employees may not understand the technical language when it comes to communicating employee benefits changes. This means you need to keep the information as clear and concise as possible and maintain an open-door policy to further explain upcoming changes to any team members who may need it.
2. Stay ahead of the changes. Don’t let rumor mills spread – be the voice.
You should be spearheading the benefits changes in your organization, which means any information that’s being shared with your employees needs to be coming from you. Make sure you are sharing all the information you have. Anticipate any potential questions your employees may have ahead of time and be prepared to answer them and help them understand the made decisions and how and why these benefits changes were implemented.
3. Share the information on multiple channels. Keep all employees’ preferred communication in mind.
Some of your employees may have access to their email accounts but not utilize them on a regular basis. Even remote employees may or may not keep up on certain channels such as email, Slack communication, MicrosoftTeam, etc. Post relevant information on employee bulletin boards and in break rooms if you are in an office environment. If your workforce is mostly remote, utilize all the resources you have at your disposal to ensure no one is missing out on critical information. Additionally, you can have Zoom meeting(s), use internal social media channels, etc. to reach all your employees in a manner they prefer or how they may retain the information best.
4. Share the information in a positive manner. If you’re excited, your employees will be.
It’s easier to understand and accept new information if it’s shared in a positive light, rather than negative. Explain the changes you’ve chosen or the choices you needed to make to your employees and help them understand that it was in their best interest. Share your decision-making process and keep in mind that the way you relay the information will have a significant impact on your employees’ reactions.
5. Maintain an open-door policy. Make it clear that employees can come to you.
Your employees may have questions and concerns that they don’t feel comfortable talking about. Now, more than ever, your team members need to know they can ask for clarification or come to you with a concern they may have with something that will affect them or their family. Allow all employees to share how the benefits changes have impacted them throughout the year. This way, when it comes time to make any changes for employee benefits for the following year, you are aware of the impact – both positive and negative – that the changes you’ve implemented have had.
If you have a remote workforce, whether all of your employees are remote, or just some, it may be even more difficult to communicate with all of your employees. They may feel less included or a lack of connection with the rest of the team members. It’s important to hold virtual meetings regularly to stay connected and utilize a form of social media or virtual communication to keep the lines of communication open.
In order to communicate benefits changes with your remote workforce, the above-listed tips still apply. It’s still critical to share information transparently and be as clear and concise as possible. Remember that the changes may or may not have a significant impact on your employees and maintain an open-door policy at all times to keep lines of communication open and encourage feedback. If you need help developing communication strategies with your employees, Projections would love to help solve your employee engagement challenges with custom-crafted communication resources.
In over 25 years of helping companies connect with their employees, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.