By - September 10, 2018

How to Create an Employee Benefits Communication Strategy for Short Attention Spans

How to Create Employee Benefits Communication Strategy for Short Attention Spans

An effective employee benefits communication strategy strikes the right balance between providing ample information and keeping employees engaged.

Yet finding that balance can be a bit tricky.

As a benefits professional, you face the age-old question… 

How much communication is too much? 

After all, it wasn’t long ago since Time announced that human attention spans were shorter than those of goldfish.

While the BBC challenged the evidence of the claim, that doesn’t change what you already know. Between Facebook updates, email notifications, and phone calls, it’s easy to become distracted.

And then comes an article from The Next Web that argues longer-form content is relevant, noting…

“Sharing of magazine articles, which tend to be longer than 1,000 words, is up 11.3 percent since December (2017).” 

These mixed signals can make things a bit confusing for your employee benefits communication strategy—raising questions.

  • Do my employees want short presentations or longer ones? 
  • Would engagement increase if my emails were lengthy or brief? 
  • What does this mean for my benefits decision support technology?  

The good news is, we’re sharing some stats that shed light on this topic! If you’re looking for clarity, here’s what you need to know. 

Why do employees have short attention spans when it comes to their benefits?

The data says your workforce already experiences time-related challenges. For this reason alone, we recommend that you take a two-pronged approach for your employee benefits communication strategy:  

Keep things short, but always provide an option to access further details. Some people need and want more information. You can help meet their needs by linking out to expanded content, providing printed guides, or hosting presentations.

To see why we suggest this approach, check out these stats…      

According to a 2017 Aflac report, 83% of surveyed employees “reported spending less than an hour researching benefits.” What’s more, “20% did no research at all.”

Curious why employee research time was so brief?

There are a number of possibilities, but here are three that you should consider:

  1. Your employees have many things competing for their attention.

From work responsibilities to soccer games, there are plenty of activities that compete with your benefits communications. 

  1. Your employees have differing communication preferences.

There’s a good chance your employees have different learning styles.

If they’re not receiving information in a way they can easily digest, they may have difficulty understanding their benefits.

For instance, if your workforce is heavily populated by workers with a visual learning style, they’ll probably skip that 150-page benefits manifesto for an informative video.

  1. Employees can be less than enthusiastic about benefits open enrollment.

Quite often, employees are indifferent about choosing benefits. Benefits selection can be confusing and tedious. Plus, people don’t usually want to make time for something they don’t understand or really don’t want to do.

In the same study, Aflac found that…

  • 15% of employees would rather file their taxes
  • 11% of employees would rather go for a 10-hour car ride
  • 9% of employees would rather be on telephone hold for a lengthy amount of time
  • 6% of employees would rather hold a screaming baby

…than experience the process of selecting their benefits.

In addition, a poll from Unum found that, when it came to enrollment…

  • 21% of employees experienced stress.
  • 22% of employees experienced confusion.
  • 20% of employees experienced anxiety.

Whether you’re dealing with unfounded perceptions or competing demands, recognize that you may encounter shorter attention spans.

But also realize this isn’t the end of the story!

Adapting your employee benefits communication strategy

Just because your employees have shorter attention spans doesn’t mean you need to decrease your educational efforts.

With the right employee benefits communication strategy, you’ll adapt to your employees’ needs while providing solid information.

The key is creativity. Here are some examples of what you could to to grab your employees’ attention:

  • Break up those lengthy emails into a mini email series.
  • Supplement lengthy content with short, fun videos.
  • Switch to intuitive, easy-to-use benefits decision support software.
  • Use visual cues as important reminders.
  • Consider offering fun in-person sessions, such as benefit fairs with prizes or giveaways.

The sky’s the limit! And a variety of tactics will also help you reach more of your employees.

Need a little benefits communication help?

If you’re looking for new ideas to engage your employees, be sure to download our free hack sheet 10 Benefits Communications Hacks You Need to Get (and Keep) Your Employees’ Attention

Tango Health can also help you create a benefits communication strategy with benefits decision support software at the core. Please let us know if we can do anything to help your employees—especially those with goldfish attention spans.  Contact Us

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