85% of employees said they would welcome benefits communication education throughout the year, with 77% wanting more education PRIOR to enrollment season

Sun Life 2020 Survey

We LOVE to Communicate Benefits

Ben Com

The data is clear.  A well defined and comprehensive communications strategy, as well as good engagement from employers and employees, are vital to achieving good enrollment results.

 The Watson Wyatt bar graph on the left illustrates the following:

  1. A “BELOW average” benefit program without benefits communication will be get less than 25% favorable interest 
  2. An “ABOVE average” benefit plan without the same good communication will receive only slightly better results.
  3. However, a “BELOW average” benefit plan WITH a good benefits communication strategy will achieve 76% favorability but combine 
  4. GREAT benefits communication with GREAT benefits an the favorability goes up to 84%.

Why bother putting together a great portfolio of voluntary benefits without ensuring the message lands on 100% of the employees and “wows” them?

A strong benefits communication strategy is the key for ensuring two objectives:

Aiding in recruiting and retention

We focus our custom designed message to highlight the value of the employer understanding how the Pandemic affected employees and responding with fresh benefits that are important to them. We ensure the employer gets the credit.   

High Participation

Many “square peg” programs in place struggle because the message around voluntary isn’t even reaching 100% of staff.  Our virtual process delivers a compelling message, delivered to 100% of staff – making ACTIVE enrollments easy and effective. 

Bottom Line

A great benefit communication plan lives for the life of the account, working with new hires and taking that burden off of HR.  It makes no sense to implement/replace voluntary benefits without a strong benefits communication strategy.

Educate, Inspire, & Connect at a Heart Level

At Elite-VB, we believe that any investment in a voluntary benefit program has to include a way to educateinspire and invite your employees to learn more about the products offered with a foundation built on emotion. When employees can see the value of participating in a program, it helps lower stress and provides “peace of mind” that they can provide for themselves and their families.

Without this essential element present (EMOTION), enrollments will fall flat. We can customize the video for your organization, add open enrollment dates, add your logo, and add/delete products…all at no cost to your organization.

With many employees still working remotely, you are able to conduct VIRTUAL enrollment meetings anywhere…at any time.  

Customized Pre-Enrollment Video for your Organization

This video is a sample employee “pre-enrollment video” that we customize for each client with their logo, fonts, employee videos & photos.

We go where the need is.  Whether our broker/client is located in Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Nevada, Oregon, etc. makes no difference.  We will come to your organization and gather the materials necessary to create an effective campaign including social media posts, flyers, e-mail blasts, video, website and landing pages…all at no cost

Many Modes of Communication

One size does NOT fit all when it comes to communicating with your employees. We believe that the more sources of information that are presented, and in various ways and locations, the better results are achieved. 

Here are a few ways we connect with your employees to build awareness, answer questions, and boost enrollment.

Our proven method of conducting employee meetings VITUALLY have been a huge success.  We start with the video, then go into the specific offering by your organization (via PowerPoint – twelve slides) with a “call to action” regarding enrollment processes and timeline, where to sign up for one-on-one’s etc.  Highly effective when used with packets with staff (yes…paper packets) and/or electronic materials distributed prior.

We still believe in face-to-face group meetings (with or without the primary benefit broker) and are beginning to do them again, following safety guidelines of your organization. 

We can conduct an effective and compelling group meeting with or without the video, review the benefit offering with staff (ideally with individual packets for staff with sample rates and brochures) with instructions on enrollment to follow.

The video (either in it’s entirety or broken into small videos per product) has also been effective at the beginning of the enrollment screen when utilizing enrollment platforms such as Ease, Navigator or Selerex. 

When 100% enrollment actions are required by staff, it’s an effective way to know that employees will view the video and the nice part is they can view the enrollment screens via phone, at night, on weekends, share with one’s spouse…it’s very, very effective and convenient.

The video has been very successful when sent via text alerts.  The viewing of the video PRIOR to the enrollment will bring the emotion and excitement to staff regarding the new benefits that your organization is making available to them and their families.

The video is ideal for new hires as HR can share the video in any of the ways listed above during their new hire orientation.  No longer is it HR’s job to “sell” the “need” for the voluntary benefits.  The video takes that off their shoulders in a highly effective and consistent way to view as they learn about the new voluntary benefits provided to them by their employer.  

Demystifying Post-Pandemic Multi-Media Communication

Whitfield and Associates - Elevating voluntary benefit results through education, creativity and science

A Survey in early 2021 found that for the current enrollment season,

71% of employees plan to spend more time reviewing their voluntary benefits as a result of COVID-19 than they did last year and more than half (53%) plan to make changes to their benefits coverages. 

We know employees want voluntary, the products on the market are incredible, and Ben Admin systems make it a breeze for both employers and employees.  So why are voluntary benefit brokers happy if they achieve 10, 20, maybe 30% participation?  Because they lack the skills to bring in the talent needed to produce the pre-enrollment digital communication multi-media tools needed to drive high participation.

With 72% of employees wanting to enroll via a VIRTUAL SOLUTION in 2022, my consulting division works with savvy carriers and voluntary benefit brokers who know the carriers who “win” and have the platform access, they just need my agency to create, design and implement digital communications campaigns. Not to replace Elite-VB’s work as a Voluntary Benefit Broker.  https://www.whitfieldandassociates.com

Holistic Approach to Enrollment

With hiring talent being a constant challenge, Elite-VB’s goal is to understand your organization and use “tools in our toolbox” to custom design…or rather…architect a plan for success for:

  • PRE-ENROLLMENT (Phase One)
  • ENROLLMENT (Phase Two) and
  • POST-ENROLLMENT (Phase Three) (including new hires)

 

In addition, we have to make sure we are looking at enrollment as a holistic process, not just an event where employees sign up for coverage. 

Enrollment must encompass communications to educate employees on the benefits offered, articulating the needs they solve and how the benefits can be solutions for the employee. Most of these communications need to take place before the actual enrollment occurs. We will need to send multiple communications and use multiple mediums of communication (e.g., paper, digital). We also need to continue to find alternative methods to “talk” to employees as if we were with them one-on-one; in other words, we personalize the employee’s experience.

These practices have been shown to produce great results when instituted in the workplace.  Benefits communication work hand-in-hand with enrollment strategy utilizing technology as a tool. 

Recruit Retain scaled

Our goal is always a minimum of 50% of employees choosing one or more benefits in the voluntary portfolio menu selected.  With Elite-VB, we know how to produce great results, taking the burden off of HR to communicate the voluntary benefits, which Elite-VB sees as OUR job.  HR has way too many tasks already and our job is to make you shine!

We believe that communication should be delivered in multiple formats. Send emails and text messages to remind employees about benefit enrollment periods and deadlines. Give them written documentation to read over and refer to as well. Educating employees with live and online presentations, as well as social media posts, are also effective formats in the modern age.

Effective programs work best when benefits communication is “employee friendly”. Employees need to be shown how their benefits work together, and they need guidance on how to make decisions that are best for them and their families. Elite-VB’s communication materials will always be top-notch, attractive and easy to understand. Well-produced materials help employees feel comfortable that they are working with a professional, high-quality company.

Enrollment technology should provide the flexibility and automation that employees need and the control that HR managers require, and be capable of coordinating enrollment in multiple locations.

Benefits Communication Tools

HAWAII Employee Website:   www.elite-vb-hawaii.com

ALASKA Employee Website:  www.elite-vb-alaska.com

Our agency has found that a mixture of “old style” methods combined with new tools will be an important combination to yield an effective, customized voluntary benefits communication strategy in 2022 and beyond.

The only way an employee benefits communication strategy is going to be successful is if there’s full buy-in and support from the upper management team. Getting the executive team to talk about voluntary benefits and how much value they bring to the workplace is critical to success.

A great benefits communication strategy comes from a strong partnership.  The most successful benefits providers work with companies using a consultative approach to develop a business strategy around their benefits plans.  Employers should view Elite-VB as part of their HR team, as opposed to just another provider of a commoditized product as the ability for us to collaborate and work as a team is crucial.

Case Study

Empathy Heart rising

Enrollment Date: Feb 2019

# of Employees: 130

CHALLENGE:

This regional airline had employees spread out all over Western Alaska (based in Anchorage).  They had challenges with the current carrier rep as flying to these locations in winter proved ineffective (due to weather, lack of hotels, etc.) which led to low participation.  They had plans in place that did not provide “guarantee issue” (so health questions applied) and they were interested in a carrier that would cover their pilots for certain plans.  Turnover of carrier rep was a problem as was billing and claims service.

Our agency flew a senior benefit counselor to Nome and outlying offices as well as designing a microsite and launch an effective replacement campaign.  We created custom flyers and pre-enrollment video campaign that was received by staff. We selected products with high guarantee-issue limits and switched from individual to group plans for lower premiums and richer benefits (many of the plans were in place for over 15 years and never upgraded).

Voluntary Benefits Offered:

Group Short-term Disability, Group Accident, Group Critical Illness, Group Hospital and Group Life Insurance as well as ID Theft (value-add)

  • Over 50% of employees enrolled in one or more of the benefits due to the ability to stream Elite-VB’s six-minute enrollment video to staff via text, e-mail, webinars and in person
  • Lowered premiums by 20%
  • Pilots were able to obtain both Accident and Life Insurance
  • Provided a microsite at no cost to the company
  • Monthly servicing of new hires followed utilizing the “new hire” tab on our website.

 

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