It's no surprise that employees care about their pay, their benefits and other issues relating to their employment deal. That's why it is surprising when people in your organization don't pay attention when you're communicating about these topics.

What's the problem? First, employees are so busy that it's easy to miss even important information. Second, a lot of HR-related information is . . . well, boring. When a message comes through that's complicated and difficult, it's human nature to put off reading it until later. Then later turns into tomorrow, which turns into next week, which turns into "I completely forgot about that."

How then, can you cut through the clutter to share information that employees need? Here are 7 ways:

  1. Tell the "why" behind changes. Why does your company offer benefits? How does the package stack up against the competition? Answer these questions for your employees, and then share the reasoning behind your decisions. Chances are, you thought carefully about changes, looked through the data, and made strategic decisions based on cost-benefit analysis. Walk employees through that process.
  2. Use the inverted pyramid to organize information. This classic structure puts the most relevant information first and saves the details for lower down in the message. And it works for any kind of communication, from e-mail to enrollment packages to benefits meetings.
  3. Focus on what employees need to do. In these information-overloaded times, employees want you to cut to the chase and tell them what action is required. So be clear, with content such as "Five decisions you need to make" and "A three-step process for choosing your benefits."
  4. Be visual. Instead of long narrative copy, break content into easily scannable segments. For example, create a table that captures key changes to next year's benefits. Or add a sidebar with a checklist of decision items. And whenever possible, use icons, photos, or sketches to illustrate your points.
  5. Avoid the urge to sugarcoat. Communicating benefits is often a "bad news, bad news" proposition. Sometimes costs increase; other times benefits are eliminated. To maintain credibility, it's important to communicate honestly. Tell employees why a change was made, how costs were managed, and how they can choose and spend wisely.
  6. Don't be shy about celebrating good things. Use communication to remind employees about benefits that are designed to make their lives better, such as flexible spending account debit cards, preventive care, discount gym memberships, and free financial advice.
  7. Be service-oriented. Include tips, advice, and Q&As that will help employees be smarter consumers and live healthier. Here are some examples of service-oriented topics you can integrate into your communications:
  • How to determine if you're saving enough for retirement
  • Low-impact ways to get more exercise
  • How I saved $300 on my prescriptions
  • Five often overlooked discounts offered by the company medical plan

See: It's simple. Provide information in an easy-to-digest way and employees will be sure to pay attention--and appreciate what the company offers.

Published on: Apr 22, 2015
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