Today’s workforce spans four different generations and reaching all of them can be a challenge. Employers can no longer solely rely on traditional employee benefits communication materials like email, printed brochures, break room posters, table tents, and payroll stuffers. While those may be effective with certain members of your workforce, younger employees are far more difficult to reach through these traditional forms of communication.
Rather, savvy employers are embracing today’s social media platforms to reach their most elusive workers — millennials and generation Z. Social media was created by millennials and gen Z are digital natives who aren’t likely to remember a time before computers. They spend quite a bit of time online, making social media one of the best avenues to connect with them in a contemporary, timely, and non-intrusive way.
Keep reading to find suggestions on how to integrate social media in your employee benefits communications, and download our free guide on this topic here.
Employee Benefits Communication via Social Media
Social media provides an ideal platform for reaching employees who may not be particularly good about (or fond of) more traditional communication methods and helps companies expand their reach. Although some employees may still expect printed materials (and you should definitely still create them), some would prefer reading a tweet or Facebook message, watching a video online, or reading a blog post from your website on their favorite e-reader.
And let’s face it: employees are spending a lot of time on social networks, so it’s a logical step to put your employee benefits communications there, directly in the critical information path. In fact, the average person spends nearly two hours (116 minutes) a day on social media. It makes a lot of sense to be where your employees already are, doesn’t it? For example, an open enrollment reminder will be a lot harder to miss or ignore when it shows up in your employees’ Facebook or Twitter feed the evening before a critical due date.
Social media can also help make employee benefits communication more personable, relatable, and easier to comprehend. Your regular documentation might seem a bit boring and drab to your millennial and gen Z workers, but they’d probably pay more attention to 160 (or now, 240) characters telling them where to turn in their benefits forms. They’re not likely to ignore a direct message on Facebook, either.
Social media can also be an effective and more acceptable way of reaching employees year-round, during the weekends, and over the holidays. It can also help motivate them to achieve their wellness goals, or to remind them of company-wide initiatives, like drinking more water, getting outside for a walk, daily meditation, or stretching before bed. A quick tweet asking your employees if they’ve done their evening stretches or meditation can be all the extra motivation they need to accomplish that task.
And perhaps most importantly, social media channels provide a way for employees to ask questions quickly. If a member of your workforce doesn’t know who to ask, they may not ask at all, but many people feel comfortable sending a quick note via Facebook or Twitter. The social media manager can relay the question to the appropriate staff member, who can reach out to the employee. The trick here is to follow through with the messages so employees know it’s a viable communication tool. Don’t ignore your inbox or your mentions. Because these are private channels, you can bet that every communication is an important one.
There are lots of ways to use social media for your employee benefits communications, including (but certainly not limited to):
- Open enrollment meeting notifications
- Reminders about critical deadlines
- Tips for 401(k) retirement or 529 savings
- HSA, HRA and FSA reimbursement advice
- Wellness tips
- Links to healthy recipes provided by your wellness administrator
- Easy exercises (also can be provided by the wellness administrator)
- Stretches helpful for those who sit all day
- Informational videos
- Links to web pages where they can find medical providers in-network
- Tips on saving money on healthcare (like prescription discount services)
- Promoting any partnerships you have with neighboring businesses (like education reimbursement at nearby colleges)
- Links to .pdf documentation that was distributed in their mailboxes or email
Social Media Best Practices
First and foremost, be sure to create a separate Facebook channel and Twitter account for your employee benefits communication. You don’t want your private benefits, wellness, or open enrollment information going out to all of your social media followers. Jim from Tucson who has no affiliation with your company doesn’t need to know that your employees’ health insurance selections are due the following day — and he doesn’t want to see that pop up in his feed.
Information on social media platforms should be quick and easy to digest. This isn’t the place for lengthy explanations of complicated insurance policy changes or why rates are increasing. However, you could post a link to a .pdf hosted on your website explaining such things with a quick sentence or two saying what the link will lead to.
If you’re planning to go the video route, make sure you’re considering that most of them are muted when they’re viewed. Think about those videos popping up in your Facebook news feed lately — they’re typically subtitled so people can watch them with the sound off (because Facebook auto-mutes videos). So if you do decide to produce videos, make sure you follow this practice, or your content could be largely ignored.
Maximizing Your Employee Benefits Communication Efforts
Every human resources department is looking to make the most of their employee benefits communication, but it’s important to remember that one size does not fit all. What works for a colleague in a different company might not work with your employees. But if you’re struggling to get your workforce to read their employee benefits communications, integrating social media might just be a good solution for you, especially if your employees like spending time on Facebook and Twitter.
The good news about social media is that it can be done for free — at least most of the time. So if you try it and it works, you’ve solved a problem. If it doesn’t pan out, you haven’t wasted much (if any) cash. If you’re looking to get started, check out our free downloadable eBookhere!
What methods are you finding to be the most successful for your employee benefits communication? Leave us a comment below or contact us. We’d love to hear what’s working for you!