In an effort to control the costs of care and improve health outcomes, employers are placing more and more emphasis on initiatives to develop their employees into savvy consumers of healthcare. It’s a lofty goal that requires a fresh take on employee communication.
Whether it’s informing employees of a benefits change, alerting them that they’re visiting a high-dollar provider or delivering the latest lab results, employers need real-time, effective tools for communicating with their employees. In fact, a recent Aflac study found that 80 percent of employees agree that a well-communicated benefits package would make them less likely to leave their jobs. To be effective, a communication program needs to meet employees where they are, focus on education, elicit trust and inspire engagement. Start with these four tips:
This means leveraging today’s digital communications tools—such as emails, newsletters, online portals and even text messages—to deliver information in a secure environment that complies with HIPAA laws. Since most employees today have access to smart phones, tablets and computers, it’s a good bet that you’ll have a receptive audience.
In the past, employees didn’t believe they needed to be involved in their care. Now, it’s vital that they are. Communications should educate employees about their benefits so they are able to make smart choices for themselves. Topics can focus on a wide range of timely, cost-saving and healthy lifestyle information—from pricing discrepancies for medical procedures to the appropriate times to go to an urgent care facility instead of an emergency room. Workforce data that shows exactly what’s driving costs in your population can help shape meaningful communication strategies that have bottom line impact.
Healthcare is personal. Communications regarding health should be, too. Employees need to know that their employer and the company’s healthcare partner are aligned with their financial interests and helping them stay healthy. Effective communications build trust by focusing on the benefits: let employees know what’s in it for them. Communications should also be upfront about how any information collected in screenings or HRAs will be used, emphasizing both confidentiality and security.
As employees become more involved in their care, engagement is crucial. Communications must inspire employees to take action, whether it’s enrolling for benefits on time or using a new service that improves financial outcomes. Personalization is also important — the right reminder in the right format at the right time can make a tremendous difference.
Take the next step towards better employee engagement. Access our seven-step guide to a smarter open enrollment.