Build a Benefits Communications Strategy That Encourages Employee Engagement

FEBRUARY 1, 2022

Seventy-seven percent of employees who ranked their benefits education experience as “fair or poor” also rated their employer as “fair or poor,” according to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).1

shutterstock_1901101405.png Benefits satisfaction is critical to attract and retain employees, and employers need to prioritize communication strategies that encourage employee engagement and promote the value of their benefits programs.

It’s important that employees make informed decisions on their benefits — one of the largest financial decisions an individual or family makes each year. For employers, however, it can be time-consuming to answer questions and guide employees on available benefits and plans, especially during open enrollment. To address these challenges, employers are encouraged to optimize the benefits enrollment process and reduce HR’s burden of educating and administering the plans.

Developing a multipronged communication strategy that actually reaches and educates all employees is no easy task. For one, it’s become increasingly challenging to capture and hold the attention of employees. According to a Microsoft study, people have an average attention span of eight seconds, down from twelve seconds in 2000. The study notes that the drop in attention appears to correlate with the increased use of mobile devices.2

In addition, employers must also consider the mixed demographics of their workforce. Employers should first evaluate the employee population. Is there significant representation in each age group? Or is the population mostly millennials and Gen Xers? Younger employees may prefer “chatting” with a chatbot late at night about benefits options, while older employees may expect someone available in person or on the phone to answer benefits questions during business hours. Due to diverse needs within the employee population, it’s best to have multiple options available for employee assistance.

What Can an Employer Do to Reach All of Its Employees?

We know that when communication about benefits plans improves, employees view the plans more favorably. The EBRI survey reports that 80% of employees who ranked their benefits satisfaction as very high also ranked their job satisfaction as very high.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all communication medium to effectively reach all employees. Therefore, employers must build comprehensive engagement strategies to communicate the benefits package. USI Insurance Services helps employers build engagement strategies that accommodate their unique employee population. Several of the USI communications tools are part of our standard offering to clients. We may also recommend additional tools from vendors that can further enhance the strategy.

It takes time and careful consideration to develop a comprehensive communications strategy that engages employees so that they value their employer. At USI, we work hand-in-hand with our clients to align their overall company goals with the most appropriate tools, resources, and partners to engage employees both at open enrollment and all year long.

To learn more about how USI can help boost employee engagement to improve benefits satisfaction, contact your local USI benefits consultant or email

1 EBRI 2017 Workplace Benefits Survey