By - March 27, 2019

Communicating Benefits: 9 Important Emails You Should Send

9 Important Emails You Should Send

When you’re communicating benefits and open enrollment details to your employees, it’s important to use a variety of communication channels. 

From webinars and in-person meetings to SMS messages and mailers, all forms of communication play an important role in your open enrollment communication campaign.  

Communicating benefits via email

Out of all communication platforms, email is one of your most important mediums, and for good reason.

HubSpot reports, “86% of professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes.”

Given the importance of email as a communication vehicle, you’ll want to know what events deserve a quick benefits announcement or email blast.

In this article, I highlight nine important emails you’ll want to send. You will likely need additional emails to reinforce your message—this list is a starting point.

(Of course, sending the right emails is only half your strategy. You still need to get your employees to open their emails. For more on that, download our tip sheet       13 Secrets to Get Your Employees to Open and Read Their Emails.

1. Give heads up that open enrollment is coming

Give plenty of notice that open enrollment is coming. It’s not a best practice to wait until a month before open enrollment to announce its kickoff. To help employees make the best benefits decisions, they need notice—well in advance. 

Months before your open enrollment kicks off, send a brief email announcement; set the stage, and prime your employees for what they need to consider.

Tip: You could even include a calendar invite in the email to remind employees of key enrollment dates.

2. Send a message communicating new benefits available

Offering new health plans or making changes to a current plan?

If you are, be sure to let employees know what’s coming and talk about the work you’ve done behind the scenes. Talking about this will provide transparency and build trust.

Focus on communicating features that are new or have changed so your employees aren’t taken by surprise.

Tip: If you’re implementing a change based on employee feedback, make sure and give your employees credit for the update.

3. Call attention to plan features or changes

Video and web content are ideal vehicles for communicating benefits options in-depth.

However, email is an excellent tool to draw attention to key or changing features of your plans. And then drive your employees toward information-rich content. You can provide details by embedding visuals or  a video, attaching documents or linking to more information.

Tip:  FAQs are a great way to provide information for employees who want to self serve.

4. Announce your benefits decision support software

Decision support software empowers your employees to select a plan that matches their medical spending baseline—versus sticking with a familiar, but less-than-ideal, plan.

That’s why, early on, you’ll want to introduce your benefits decision support software and the advantages it provides. Explain to employees that you’re providing a tool to make quicker, more informed decisions. Later, when the tool is ready, send a follow-up email that links to the tool.

However—regardless of whether you use a decision support tool or something more like a plan comparison document—let employees know what you are providing. And focus on how it will improve their experience.

Tip: If possible, launch your benefits decision support tool 6 weeks or more before open enrollment ends. This gives employees time to learn more about their benefits and run different healthcare spending scenarios before selecting a plan. 

5. One-on-one coaching

While some employees will enjoy webinars and group learning events, others will want personalized guidance as they navigate their benefits decisions.

If your organization provides one-on-one coaching via phone and/or chat, announce this option via email. Use the email to briefly explain this service and drive employees to a relevant web page (or use the email to provide a phone number for more information). 

Tip: If your benefits decision support software includes one-on-one coaching, call it out as additional guidance within the tool.

6. Celebrate the employer incentives being offered

Don’t be shy about the perks your organization provides.

If your organization offers HSA contributions, wellness incentives, or other advantages, send an email communicating benefits incentives and how to qualify for them.  

Tip: Instead of writing a text-heavy email, use bullet points to quickly hit the top perks of health plan incentives and link out to the specifics.

7. Announce open enrollment kickoff

While employees shouldn’t be surprised when open enrollment kicks off, they still appreciate receiving a reminder.

When open enrollment begins, shoot a quick email to your employees. Be sure to include links and/or phone numbers to the resources available to them during the process.

Tip: It’s also helpful to include links to plan information, providers and tools on your benefits landing page.

8. Help employees take advantage of their benefits

Go beyond simply communicating benefits and getting your employees to select the right plans.

You can increase employee satisfaction when you help them understand how to take advantage of their benefits. For instance, use email to direct employees to a blog post or online guide explaining how they can contribute to their HSA.

Tip: Creating a year-long calendar of healthcare literacy topics such as saving on medical expenses can encourage more employee engagement.

9. Send a satisfaction survey

Once open enrollment is over, improve how you educate your employees by gathering feedback.

Simply send an email with a link to a satisfaction survey. Then use any survey findings to refine your benefits communication strategy for the upcoming year.

Tip: For more on creating successful surveys, check out our Survey Hacks resource.

Encouraging employees to open email is important

From announcing open enrollment to satisfaction surveys, email is an important tool for benefits communications.

The key is getting your employees to open their emails and read the important information they contain.

Check out our tip sheet 13 Secrets to Get Your Employees to Open and Read Their Emails to make your email strategy all the more effective.

Originally published July 12, 2018.

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