Kip Soteres

Let’s Talk Health: Strategies for Communicating Health Care to Millennials in the Workplace

There’s no doubt that millennials are changing how the modern workplace functions, but are they changing how businesses communicate, too? The old ways of getting a message across aren’t dead yet — ask a millennial how they like to communicate in the office and they’re likely to say they prefer email over anything else, and contrary to popular notions, millennials actually read more books than the generations that came before them.

Still, uncertainty persists about how best to convey important organizational information to younger employees. Determining your organization’s millennial health care strategy is a crucial first step, but any attempt to spread something as traditionally dense and complicated as health care information to millennial employees will fall short if the content itself isn’t compelling. While the best way to find out how your employees prefer to take in information is to ask them, of course, a safe bet for grabbing attention around the office is to create content that is mobile, visual, interactive and digestible.

Mobile

These days, work is spilling into remote workspaces, vacation destinations and smartphones. A 2016 survey showed that 90 percent of people open texts within three minutes of receiving them, and texting accounts for a full third of millennials’ mobile phone usage. For many modern employees, a phone is just as important a tool as a computer, but right now many companies aren’t taking advantage of this trend. Since it’s common for employees to use text messages to notify managers of delays, contact co-workers about after-work plans or convey other information that’s too short or casual to dedicate to an email, providing a way for millennials and other workers to access internal resources and information on their phones can have an impact on how many eyes will see your content.

Visual

Concepts that might take hundreds of words to explain can often be grasped at a glance when presented with pictures or video — just think of the safety information on airplanes. Businesses have to run efficiently to be successful, and taking an hour to read a dense document can slow employees down. When possible, work with a graphic designer to synthesize health care information and present it to employees in the form of short videos, infographics or even comics.

Interactive

No, you don’t have to turn every insurance update into a video game. But the information you pass on to your staff should be easy to engage with. Personalization breeds engagement, and luckily, millennials are willing to get involved. One survey found that among early adopters of technology — mostly Generation Z and millennials — 68 percent would share purchase information with banks to get more personalized financial advice. While you don’t necessarily need this kind of data, a little knowledge of your employees can help you create content that gets them excited about health care for young adults. So survey your staff to find out what issues — health-related and otherwise — they most want to read about, and see how you can customize your health insurance communications. And consider setting up a comments section or other response function to give your employees another way not only to put engagement into action but also to gather feedback.

Digestible

In essence, keep it short. No one has time to stop everything and sit down with an eight-page open enrollment guide — especially younger employees, who are used to receiving important information via articles, short-form videos and other brief messages. Millennials don’t want to read fluff, so get to the point or lose their attention.

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Remember that while millennials are driving these changes, employees of any generation can benefit from receiving information that’s easier to understand and engage with. Making smart changes to your office communication strategy when it comes to millennial health care is about more than just accommodating a new kind of employee and working style — it’s about building a workplace community of informed health care consumers.

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