You hear an engaging presentation from a benefits provider. The program sounds like it would address health issues your employees deal with, but you’re left with one important question: Will people actually use the program?

That all depends on the effectiveness of your employee benefits communications. Whether you’re rolling out a new program at your company or sending another reminder about open enrollment, capturing attention is critical – and challenging.

Thinking about benefits communications as a marketer or advertiser can help. We put together some of the most popular behavioral economics concepts used in marketing and advertising that can help engage your employees. Human resources professionals know their employees well, and meeting them where they are with information packaged in a user-friendly way makes a difference.

Share information in digestible pieces.

Choice overload is a behavioral economics term that most of us can relate to. A famous study on the topic looked at the behavior of shoppers deciding on jam. Those faced with 24 choices felt overwhelmed, and were less likely to choose anything. Participants with just a few jams to choose from, in contrast, were more likely to buy.

Employee benefits are complicated. To help your employees avoid information or choice overload, start with a succinct, clear message before diving into the details. Whenever you can, present one piece of information with one call to action at a time. For example, rather than grouping information about all of the different wellness programs your company has, send out one message at a time describing the specific benefits of each.

Focus on the benefits first, and then the features.

 The order in which you present information also makes an impact on how likely it is that your employees will take the next step. In marketing, copywriters often think about presenting the benefits of using a product, followed by the features of the product. For example, at Fern, we say about our musculoskeletal employer program, “Get relief from back pain, from anywhere” and then list out the details of the program, including exercise therapy, pain neuroscience education, and health coaching. Step into your employees’ shoes and think about why they might want to use the program, and start your communications from there.

More employees working remotely? Consider a digital-first approach to employee benefit communications.

COVID-19 has changed so much in how we live our lives, including employee benefits strategies. Companies around the country are moving to indefinite or even permanent work-from-home policies. Companies from Facebook and Twitter in Silicon Valley to Nationwide Insurance in Columbus, OH announced that remote working will continue “forever.”

That means that traditional outreach methods like wellness fairs aren’t going to be available for companies with remote workforces. Now, when developing your employee benefits communication strategy, think first about how you’ll reach your teams digitally. Create materials for messaging channels like Slack, put together email series, and highlight changes on your intranet. Keep in mind that it’s easy to feel overloaded with information online, so consider using all-staff meetings to highlight new offerings.

Create a sense of urgency.

Do you work more efficiently when you’re staring at a deadline? Timeliness is important in employee benefits communications, too. Giving employees an answer to the question “why now?” is especially important when it comes to benefits unrestricted by open enrollment. Focus on what employees have to gain by signing up now rather than later.

Use employee ambassadors to help spread the word.

The idea of social proof permeates advertising. Think of a commercial that shares the experiences of real customers to back up their claims. Once you’ve launched a new benefits program, you can use this technique to help it grow.

Keep in mind that some employees may prefer to keep it private that they use a wellness benefit. When this is the case, ask your vendor if they have any testimonials they can share instead, especially if they’re from people in a similar industry to yours. Hearing from others who your employees can relate to can help them visualize getting something out of the program, too.

Work with a provider that makes benefit communications pain free.

When evaluating vendors for a new wellness program, ask about how much onboarding support they provide. At Fern, we offer a personalized communications campaign to support our clients and make sure the onboarding process is a success for their employees.

For a personalized consultation on how you can implement Fern’s MSK solution with your employees, get in touch using the form below. We look forward to connecting.

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