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How_and_When_to_Communicate_Benefits_Plan_Changes_to_Your_EmployeesHave you just completed a large-scale review of your benefits plan? Maybe you discovered there were many different ways to revise and improve the plan. Maybe you’re going to offer more of what employees say they truly want and need in their benefits plan. Maybe you’re going to switch carriers to get a better deal. You may even decide to offer a wellness program or focus on financial well-being.

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Whatever the reason, your benefits plan is changing. Now you’ll need to communicate those changes to your employees. The question is how and when should you be communicating these changes.

When to Communicate Changes

There are a few times you should be communicating benefits plan changes.

The first is when you begin the review. You can notify employees the review has been undertaken and that there may be changes to the plan. Ensure them you’ll update them once the review is completed and changes have been decided on.

Once the changes are decided, be sure to communicate them to your employees. The changes should be communicated well before the effective implementation date. Follow up with reminders periodically, and notify employees on the effective date.

Once the changes have come into force, you should continue communicating them. Employees may take some time to adjust to the changes, so periodic reminders about what’s new are helpful.

How Should You Communicate?

You’ve decided to communicate often about upcoming benefits plan changes. Now the question is how should you deliver this information? You want to make sure your employees receive it.

A good idea is to use a multimedia campaign to get the message across. Automated notifications on your self-service platform are great, but if an employee never logs in, they may not see the memo. An emailed notification might end up in an employee’s junk inbox.

Paper notifications should be incorporated into your communication campaign as well. Send out an official letter to be delivered to employees either at their desks or to their remote workplaces. You can also post the notice around the office on bulletin boards or other places where you make announcements.

Using this strategy will ensure you reach more of your employees and communicate the information to them effectively. This way, very few of your employees will be able to claim they were unaware of the upcoming changes.

Is There Such a Thing As Too Much Communication? 

You may wonder if communicating frequently and through different media will annoy your employees. The answer is yes, it might. Changes to a benefits plan are important information, however, so you need to be sure you’re communicating them effectively. Sometimes, part of effective communication is repeating the message.

Some of your employees will get the memo on the first try. It will take longer to reach others. Try to spread out your communications to minimize frustration. Reminders are helpful and important.

Give yourself plenty of time so you can communicate benefits plan changes frequently and ensure the message makes it to as many employees as possible. You don’t want anyone caught unaware, and this strategy is sure to help.

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Cathy Seto

Cathy Seto is the assistant vice president of GroupQuest Benefits Resources Inc. She has dedicated a lifetime in group benefits administration as well as sales. She is relationship strong, passionate about high level of service, and well respected in the industry. Cathy is also a chauffeur, cheerleader, controller, counsellor… the list goes on. The shortest version? She is a Mom. When it isn’t about her brilliant kids, it’s all about learning, growth, giving back, fitness, and boating. Oh yes… boating floats her boat.

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