Can you hear me now?
“No matter how good a job employers think they do when educating employees about their health and financial benefits, it usually isn’t enough.”
WHEN IT COMES TO WORK (well, and life in general), I’m kind of a loner. As a remote employee, I’m based out of my home in Denver, while all of my coworkers are based in our offices on the East Coast (greetings from the Mile High City, guys!)
Being a remote worker has its perks — you know, like getting to wear sweatpants and having an endless supply of coffee — but it also has its drawbacks.
Work-life balance feels hazier when you’re always in your workspace and always “on.” Where does work life end and home life begin? And there’s the whole isolation aspect. I don’t connect with coworkers at after-work happy hours or during the office holiday party. I don’t shoot the breeze at the water cooler. And office gossip is pretty slow here — my dog is cute and all, but she’s no conversationalist.
Most notably, though, it’s harder for me to keep up to date about the goings-on in my office — from new policies to what’s happening in our benefits department.
That’s why workplace communication from HR departments is such a big issue for remote workers like me. Without it, I feel more isolated than ever.
I’m certainly not alone in that respect — more and more workforces are going remote — which is just one reason benefits communication needs to be a bigger priority than ever before.
But unfortunately, it’s still a huge challenge for employers of all sizes. According to Employee Benefit Adviser’s Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark survey, communications is an Achilles’ heel: employers gave themselves a grade of just 17 for their communications plans on a scale of 1-100, with the latter score indicating total readiness.
“No matter how good a job employers think they do when educating employees about their health and financial benefits, it usually isn’t enough,” Andrew Brickman, account manager for employee benefits firm Corporate Synergies, recently wrote in a blog on EBN’s website.
Like most issues, the first step is acknowledging you have a problem. And the good news is that there are a number of employers who’ve done just that, and are now working to revamp their communications strategies as a result.
From technology and gamification to varied delivery vehicles, em- ployers are coming up with solutions that are making a difference to their employees. And, lucky for you, you can read about benefits communications best practices from Fujifilm, BlackRock, Aon and Formstack to help inspire you on p. 14.
The thing about strong benefits communications is, it’s not just about making sure your employees understand and are aware of their benefits (which of course is important, too). It’s also about acknowledging the new work culture (including us remote employees!) and acknowledging that things can’t stay the same as they once were. It’s about keeping employees aware, engaged and making them feel like they are part of a team. Because if that’s not a priority, then something is terribly wrong.
Send letters, queries and story ideas to Editor-in-Chief Kathryn Mayer at firstname.lastname@example.org.