Stephanie Dwilson

Does Your Employee Benefit Communication Strategy Drive Engagement?

Large group employers and human resource leaders are on intimate terms with their benefits budgets. They both share the responsibility of managing costs, which in turn can loosen the focus on what really drives employees to make the best health care decisions.

The truth is that employee benefit communication does its best work when its aim is engaging employees on a meaningful, personal level — going beyond protecting the bottom line. Improving employee engagement requires building a foundation of trust. As an employer, you have an incredible opportunity to prove that your interest fundamentally lies with the well-being of your employees and their families.

When employees begin to feel like they’re just a number, they stop trusting the valuable information you share with them about health care. The result? They take advantage of fewer opportunities and miss out on learning the ins and outs of their plan options. In the end, their health suffers. This is a worst-case scenario, but it can happen.

Here are three ways to shift your focus to employee engagement and lead your workforce — organically — to what’s best for everyone while still protecting the bottom line.

1. Offer a Mix of Benefits Employees Will Appreciate

The first step to truly getting your employees thinking about their benefits is to tailor your offerings to their wants and needs. What will help improve their lifestyle?

To help answer that question, consider sending out an anonymous survey. Ask employees to rate their current health care network, out-of-pocket costs and ancillary benefits, and leave space for employees to suggest benefits that are important to them. Then, identify a few suggestions you can implement to let your staff know their voices have been heard.

Remember: It’s not just about the main health care plans that you offer. Voluntary benefits like dental, vision, accidental coverage, long-term care, family planning, fertility treatments and wellness programs can be just as important to your workforce. The goal here is to improve your employees’ health care experiences.

2. Educate Employees About Their Options

Sometimes your employees simply don’t know how the benefits you already offer can meet their needs.

Cover multiple topics employees might be interested in, and do it through multiple mediums. Some employees might prefer an in-office workshop, while others may learn best through a webinar. Don’t overlook explaining basic terms. They may be second nature to you, but do your employees really know what copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums are — and how they impact their lives?

Have a health care agent available to meet individually with anyone who has a question, either on-site or during time off provided by you. It would be ideal and beneficial to have an agent and materials in your employees’ preferred language, whether that’s English, Spanish or something else.

3. Guide Workers to Better Decisions

Beyond education, how can you direct your employees toward smart choices? Remember what really encourages employees to stay healthy. They may appreciate the savings that come with a healthy lifestyle, but chances are they’re motivated by the bigger picture — experiences, not numbers. How can making smart benefits decisions help your employees free up time to spend with their loved ones, pave the way for their career development or lead longer lives?

Another approach is to lead by example. If your employees see the organization’s leadership taking advantage of your offerings, they may be more likely to do the same. Whether leaders are participating in wellness activities or discussing how the company’s mental health benefits helped them through a difficult time, modeling healthy choices can be a powerful motivator.

Finally, make your benefits accessible for employees. This goes beyond your benefits package design: Stock healthy snacks, bring flu shots on-site, offer a flexible scheduling policy for doctors’ appointments and get your workers up to speed on the latest in telemedicine. In the end, convenience often wins out, so make healthy choices the easiest ones.

Remember, You’re Not Alone

Shifting your employee benefit communication strategy isn’t necessarily easy. But don’t forget that you have a partner at your disposal — your health plan carrier.

Anthem is dedicated to improving the health care experience for your employees. Rather than building a “one size fits all” plan that doesn’t really fit everyone, Anthem gives employers the flexibility to customize plans to fit the needs of their company.

Anthem also offers Wellbeing Solutions to help you promote employee health, boost job satisfaction and increase productivity. With a range of tailored options, these solutions offer a level of encouragement and engagement that can noticeably move the needle on employee well-being. In fact, Anthem’s 2018 outreach programs closed 28 million gaps in care, resulting in $5.6 billion in potential savings.1

Wellbeing Solutions also provide analytics that help to evaluate the effectiveness of your health plan on an ongoing basis. Robust analytics allows Anthem to leverage insights about your employees while facilitating access to the nation’s largest network of providers and, as a result, delivering care that’s more personal, connected and responsive. This unique approach means that everyone gets something they need: You get to make smart benefits choices for your business, and your employees get to know and care about their options. Put your people first and they’ll succeed — right along with your business.

1. 2018 Anthem data. Accessed January 2019.

Ready to explore how Anthem can help improve the health care experience for you and your employees? Contact us today.