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Benefits communication - get higher open enrollment participation

Benefits Communication: Get Higher Open Enrollment Participation

If you’re in HR, you know open enrollment is just around the corner starting November 1. Open enrollment can be an extremely stressful and overwhelming time for management and employees alike. These periods are the only time employees can enroll in benefits or make changes, resulting in a lot of pressure on both sides of the fence.

Although open enrollment is critical, employees don’t fully understand the process or actual benefits available. Therefore, benefits communication is often ignored.

When employees miss the deadline, it creates more administrative work and can lead to disgruntled, unproductive employees. To prevent these issues, it’s important to get the highest open enrollment participation—and the key to that is through effective benefits communication.

Plan Ahead

To get the highest participation rate, you have to plan your benefits communication in advance. People need to know well ahead of time the opportunities that will be made available to them.

Start by ensuring colleagues receive a comprehensive overview of the benefits offerings, including their portion of the cost. Notify employees of open enrollment meetings a month prior so they can schedule accordingly. Don’t forget to allow enough time for management to submit enrollment changes to insurance providers and verify enrollment was successful.

Employees need ample time to review educational materials and consult with family members in order to make informed decisions. You may be thinking, “What educational materials?” which leads us to our next point…

Offer Education

Let’s face it, “I completely understand my ever-changing healthcare benefits” is likely not something you’ll hear from any employee. Because of this, employees frequently bypass making changes during the open enrollment window. It’s an employer’s job to make sure employees have all the tools to make informed decisions by the deadline.

Plan and implement a benefits education program complete with seminars/webinars, personal consultations with experts, one-on-one meetings with HR representatives, and any other options that suit your organization. These educational opportunities will help demystify the open enrollment process and make employees feel more confident in their decisions.

Although it seems like more planning now, it will save a lot of headache down the road. More knowledge will lead to less confusion and higher participation rates. Ideally, you can repurpose these educational materials with minor tweaks as benefits change so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel twice a year. It will also help alleviate call volume and surprise visits by confused employees.

Communicate Potential Consequences

To get a high participation rate, employees need to understand what happens if they miss open enrollment. By communicating potential consequences, employees are more likely to take the deadline seriously. It’s not meant to be a scare tactic, it’s simply the reality of what could happen.

Potential consequences include not receiving any benefits (if enrolling for the first time), dependents being dropped or not added, or dropped coverage altogether. All of these scenarios can have a significant financial impact on the employee.

According to an Aflac Workforces Report, 60% of employees haven’t tried to learn about health reform on their own. And 75% expect their employer to notify them of any changes in health care coverage due to health care reform.

In a nutshell, a company’s benefits communications may be the only source of information employees receive, so it’s important to arm them with plenty of information and support.

Use an Accessible Platform

We’ve discussed what to communicate, but what is the best distribution method? Email is widely used for benefits communication, however, it’s often ignored or doesn’t reach the entire workforce. 83% of the global workforce consists of non-desk workers—many who don’t have corporate email addresses— so they’re left out of these vital communications.

If employees aren’t using a computer, there’s a good chance they’re on their smartphones. Custom mobile internal communication apps are a great way to reach all or part of your teams in real time. In addition to quick messaging, you can schedule automated reminders, send confirmation campaigns, and automate workflows, while still remaining personalized.

There are many more ways to improve employee benefits communication with mobile. Colleagues will appreciate benefits communication in bite-sized chunks that are more easily digestible than thick blocks of email text.

Ask for Feedback

The best way to get high enrollment participation is to simply ask employees what information they want and how they want to receive it. They may prefer it being distributed in a different way than you’re providing, or may have follow-up questions that can be addressed during feedback periods.

Employee surveys are a great way to clarify benefits options and the open enrollment process. And it has never been easier with mobile surveying technology that allows you to create and send in mere minutes. Employee surveys demonstrate that you’re dedicated to making the process as convenient as possible—potentially reducing the number of employees that miss open enrollment.

For more information on how to improve employee benefits communication, download our white paper. Or talk to one of our app experts by filling out the form below.
improve benefits communication

Improve Employee Benefits Communication with a Mobile Workforce

Benefits have become an increasingly important consideration for workers. Many job seekers today are even willing to take a lower paying job that offers superior benefits over a higher salary with inferior benefits. However, effective benefits communication is lacking in many organizations.

Benefits are vital to employee welfare, as well as creating a sense of security and peace of mind. They can attract top talent, build trust, loyalty, and satisfaction, and benefits communication helps reduce turnover.

All of this sounds great right? Unfortunately, benefits packages have become increasingly complex so many people don’t fully understand all that is available to them. Some companies have found success in creating benefits packages tailored to different age brackets, but they still struggle to relay the relevant information to a diverse and distributed workforce.

Where’s the value in having benefits if employees don’t know what they are or how to use them? Here are a few tips on how to improve benefits communication with a mobile workforce:

Schedule automated reminders

Many benefits are centered around deadlines—the biggest example being open enrollment. This period is when workers are eligible to make changes to their healthcare benefits, making it one of the most important aspects of any successful benefits program.

Unfortunately, many HR departments struggle with getting colleagues to enroll or make changes on time. This is often due to employees, especially non-desk employees, not receiving vital information in a timely manner, including open enrollment deadlines.

The best way to ensure coworkers enroll on time is to start early and communicate often. Mobile communication is a great way to do this since you can set up automated notifications/reminders in small and easily digested messages and posts.

The most effective mobile communication platforms also allow for easy customization and personalization, allowing companies to target specific groups with language that will engage them. Ideal platforms also allow companies to see who is and isn’t engaging with the reminders. This gives HR departments insight into what works and what doesn’t, empowering them to improve their communication strategy.

Send confirmation campaigns

Read receipts are useful, but they don’t require confirmation that something has been read. For critical matters, such as participating in open enrollment, you need confirmation that a message or document has been read or a video has been viewed.

Confirmation campaigns provide an extra level of accountability and management knows for certain whether or not someone has seen it. If employees don’t take action, management will know they chose to ignore it and can either reach out or refer back to the campaign if they encounter complaints about missing a deadline.

Consistent communication is the key to success. Colleagues need to be reminded what the program offers with regular prompts, notifications, and other messages. Communication from the top level is also important as people will be more likely to participate if they know there is support from all levels of management.

Distribute employee surveys

One key way to improve benefits communication is by simply asking colleagues what is most convenient and useful for them. With a mobile platform, you can distribute polls and employee surveys to elicit quick feedback about current communications and how they can be more effective.

Creating employee surveys and compiling responses may sound time-intensive (and it is when physical questionnaires are involved), but new digital workplace tools make the process so easy you’ll wonder how you did it any other way.

You can create, distribute, and collect feedback in mere minutes using a pre-determined list of employees. If and when people don’t send responses, you can even automate reminders. Once everyone has completed the survey, all the data is captured in the analytics dashboard where you can analyze responses and come up with a strategy that works for everyone.

Or, if there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution, employees can be segmented into targeted groups so they will receive more relevant content.

There are so many ways to use mobile technology in your benefits communication—and the right platform can ease or even automate the process. Not to mention your colleagues will appreciate the simplicity and ability to stay well-informed!

For more detailed information on this topic, download our white paper. If you’re ready to start improving benefits communication now, fill out the form below to receive a free personal demo.

Top 10 International Retail Events to Grow Your Business

Retail events are crucial for brand exposure, staying ahead of industry trends, meeting the right people, and shopping around for the latest technologies that bring value to your stores. With so many retail events out there, it’s hard to pinpoint which ones give you the biggest bang for your buck. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 international retail conferences and expos that specialize in a variety of areas.

You’re bound to find at least a few events that are right for your retail organization. Mark your calendars folks, here are some hot retail events you don’t want to miss!

1. NRF Retail’s Big Show

As NRF’s flagship event, Retail’s Big Show is a three-day expo and conference taking place January 14-16, 2018 at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. It’s regarded as the largest retail event of the year because it draws the largest gathering of industry executives, thought leaders, and vendors to discuss industry trends and how to keep up with the digital transformation.

This event has everything from marketing, merchandising, mobile retailing, growth hacks, and so much more. You’ll get the opportunity to rub elbows with the biggest retail players and get the first glimpse of the upcoming technology solutions catered to retailers. Like the name suggests, this is where BIG things happen!

2. ICSC RECon

The ICSC Retail Real Estate Convention (RECon) is a three-day event (2018 date TBD) specifically geared toward retail real estate professionals from around the world. With over 37,000 attendees and 1,200 exhibitors, it’s the largest industry convention that provides a wealth of networking opportunities.

If you’re looking to expand your business or find new store locations, this is a great place to connect with professionals who have a breadth of experience in this area. This is also the place where deals get made, so come prepared with your pitch! Make sure to download the app prior to the show to get the most out of the weekend. Like the others, this event is packed with educational sessions and workshops so be sure to plan your time accordingly.

3. Retail Congress Asia Pacific

The Retail Congress Asia Pacific, a tradeshow and conference for retailers in the Asia Pacific region, will be held October 10-11 of this year at the Kerry Hotel in Hong Kong. It’s the premier information and networking event for retailers in this area. The Congress provides the opportunity to meet and build relationships with key decision makers from 25 countries. More than 350 delegates are set to attend the event this October and provide a fresh direction for the retail market.

This year’s theme, “Reshaping Retail in Asia Pacific: Survive and Prosper,” aims to prepare businesses for the unknown and better understand the modern customer. It will have a new format this year including the Ideas Factory that has 20-minute sessions designed to challenge and inspire, seven-minute presentations leading into heartier panel discussions, and Q&A/roundtable discussions. Bring your networking game to the next level by attending the gala dinner, cocktail reception, and retails awards. Be sure to download this year’s Congress App to connect with confirmed attendees and pre-book meetings.

4. HR Retail

HR Retail is an annual training conference for HR executives, specifically in the retail industry, that will be held April 10-12, 2018 (you’ve got plenty of time to prepare) at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in sunny San Diego, CA. It’s the perfect event for innovative HR professionals looking for new tools and strategies to address HR’s biggest challenges like how to attract top talent, development, employee engagement, and turnover and make a change to their people strategy.

The agenda is full of rich content from keynote speakers who are HR leaders from top brands like Levi Strauss, Macy’s, Lush, and Gap. They share their tips and tricks to help retailers implement successful HR initiatives. After this three-day event full of actionable sessions and unique networking opportunities, you’ll be prepared to tackle your day-to-day and strategy challenges head-on.

5. Retail Business Technology Expo

If you’re a European retailer looking for innovative tools, services, and other solutions that can help you grow your business, boost productivity, and enhance the customer experience, the Retail Business Technology Expo is the event for you. Held May 2-3, 2018 in Olympia, London, this expo offers numerous conferences and seminars where attendees can learn about transformational ideas, information, and products to run your retail organization more effectively.

The expo covers issues in numerous categories including ecommerce, finance, marketing, merchandising, supply chain, and the list goes on. It’s a must for anyone responsible for purchasing decisions, including IT, eCommerce, payments, marketing, loss prevention, finance, supply chain, profit protection, operations, HR, and security.

6. World Retail Congress

The World Retail Congress event, hosted April 17-19 in Madrid, Spain next year, brings together over 1,000 global industry leaders to address the evolving consumer demands and the future of retail. There are countless reasons to attend, including those we named in previous events, but this one has some unique offerings.

Here you can network with retail leaders and decision makers from more than 65 countries and be a part of an exclusive CEO program. This is an invitation-only program throughout the three-day event designed to connect CEOs, discuss each day’s biggest learnings, participate in leadership mentoring, and gain exclusive access to keynote speakers and intel for off-site networking events. Past speakers include the CEO of Neiman Marcus, Head of Future Retail for BMW, Global Managing Director of Alibaba, and Global VP of Coca-Cola.

7. NG Retail Summit

NG Retail is a three-day summit held October 18-20 of this year at the Fairmont Mayakoba in the tropical Riviera Maya, Mexico. With three summit themes, 15 workshops and 150+ retail executives, this event provides a more intimate setting and comprehensive/collaborative approach to learning.

Programs are tailored to helping attendees implement their key projects more effectively by gaining an in-depth understanding of project needs, desired business outcomes, and challenges they face when trying to hit their goals. If you have forward-thinking projects in mind to take your business to the next level, this is the place to get the implementation strategies you need from those who have already mastered it.

8. Shop.org Digital Retail Summit

The shop.org Digital Retail Summit, happening September 25-27 this year at the LA Convention Center, is a key event for anyone who wants to learn more about ecommerce, online marketing, and mobile commerce. Its main focus is on techniques and technologies that will help you increase ROI and profitability in the digital retail space.

Attended by thousands of retail professionals annually, this event offers educational and networking opportunities for merchants of virtually any size or industry. The event boasts an impressive lineup of speakers including CEO of DSW, Director of Digital Merchandising for Kohl’s, and even Kobe Bryant. They’ll discuss their own successes and failures and how you can apply those learnings to your retail organization. If your business relies heavily upon digital, this is the event for you.

9. Independent Retailer Conference

The Independent Retailer Conference is the only conference that exclusively supports small, independent retailers. Open to any type of independent retailer, the event is more of a pop-up conference within a tradeshow that covers issues surrounding store operations, marketing, management, merchandising and more.

If you own or operate an independent retail store or chain, you’ll get very relevant and tailored insights directly applicable to your needs. You’ll be surrounded by like-minded people who have been in your same position and have great insights to share to help you thrive in the independent retail space. IRC provides the perfect environment for small retailers looking for custom, one-of-a-kind solutions and indie-style strategy ideas.

10. Business Startup

For those of you starting a retail company in the UK, the Business Startup event in Olympia, London November 16-17 is the place to be. Known as “the UK’s biggest exhibition for anyone starting or growing a business,” this event will give you the right know-how to launch and grow your startup.

With 250 seminars, 350 exhibitors, and 12 workshops, the hardest part will be deciding which sessions to attend. You can also participate in training sessions, speed networking, and other activities that will help expand your network and industry knowledge. Perhaps the most valuable part of the event is that you get to pitch your business at the Angel’s Den where venture capitalists are searching for the best new idea to invest in. Guaranteed you’ll walk out of here energized to expand your business, or even have a new investor!

Interested in more information about improving your retail organization? Check out some of our retail-centric blogs How to Reduce Retail Turnover with Better Internal Communication and 3 Ways to Improve Retail Employee Performance. Or fill out the form below to get a free personal demo with a Beekeeper expert who can walk you through how our digital workplace app can help streamline your operations.
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Motivate factory workers and run your production line like a well-oiled machine

As team leaders, production managers have the essential responsibility of motivating factory workers. There are many ways to do this in an office setting, but motivating factory workers is a different story. It’s much more difficult to maintain a relationship when they’re on the production line and not sitting next to you at a desk.

The management style you use can make or break the success of your company. Your style should depend on your business goals, employees, and personality type. Different worker segments need different leadership styles—a Navy Seal team requires a much different style than a yoga studio.

If you manage factory workers, it’s key to understand they don’t come into work simply because they want to work for you. They have their own goals, ambitions, and reasons for coming to work that won’t always align with yours. Your job is to learn what motivates them to suit up for work every day. Gaining new perspectives will unlock key insights to improve engagement and ultimately the bottom line. Non-desk employees need extra support and when they’re provided with the necessary training and resources, they become much more motivated to put in a productive shift.

Here are four ways to motivate your factory workers and get your production line running like a well-oiled machine:

1. Add meaning to their work.

Every factory worker has different needs. We can use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a guide to see what employees need to reach their full potential. Most employers simply cover the two tiers of basic needs, never trying to reach the higher levels people need both at work and at home.

During a company retreat, Chip Conley, Head of Hospitality at Airbnb, asked groups of housekeepers what would happen if someone from Mars landed on Earth and asked them, “What should we call you?” They came up with some pretty interesting names like, “The Serenity Sisters”, and “The Clutter Busters.” In a study done surrounding hourly workers, three core values arose: meaning, dignity, and self-determination.

Meaning: Every job has a meaning and is important no matter the function. Ditch-digger, fry makers, stable cleaners, you name it. Just because they don’t require higher education doesn’t mean their contribution isn’t valuable. If nobody did these jobs, no one could do their jobs.
Dignity: Dignity comes with how an employee is treated at work. Belittling, neglect, or other unprofessional behavior can drastically reduce productivity, health, and collaboration in any environment.
Self-determination: Self-determination is defined as an employee’s freedom within some boundaries to choose what, when, and how a task is accomplished. Giving employees a sense of control and ownership provides an elevated level of satisfaction, which leads to our next point…

2. Give factory workers more control over what they produce.

Giving factory workers the ability to make their own decisions and see direct result will give them more skin in the game to do their job well. Talk about adding meaning to their work!

In a study done on San Francisco garbage collectors, workers rated themselves very high on job happiness. This was due in large part to being able to choose their own routes and the amount of time spent on each route. Showing you trust your workers by giving them freedom to manage their workflow shows you respect their ideas and, in turn, they’ll want to keep bringing you value.

3. Incorporate bottom-up communication.

Most companies only have a top-down internal communication strategy, meaning management can send information to employees, but not the other way around. By using an internal communication system that allows bottom-up communication, you not only improve internal communication in your factory, you also give workers the floor to express their ideas and instill a sense of belonging. The more you make employees feel like they’re part of the bigger picture, the more they’ll give back.

Allowing bottom-up communication is especially important with distributed workforces. See how Seaboard Foods, a manufacturing with more than 5,000 employees across six states, has improved their internal communications and operations with Beekeeper which facilitates two-way communication.

4. Treat factory workers with dignity, regardless of role.

In the book Life on the Line, the author Solange de Santis recounts the year and a half she spent working in a General Motors plant. She chronicled her experience, through the tough working conditions and disputes between workers and management.

Her biggest takeaway from the experience was how hard-working, skilled, and innovative the factory workers really were. The stereotypical view of factory workers as wage slaves was put aside. De Santis showed these workers make a real difference for the company’s bottom line when they are treated with respect, given room to be creative, and have open dialogues across different levels of the business.

For factory managers looking for some key points to remember when brainstorming motivational ideas, these four factors should be met:

· Goal must be clearly understood
· Progress must be measurable
· Have control over achieving the goal
· A reward system when goals are met

Simply paying workers more won’t give employees more job satisfaction. Creating meaning and motivation must go hand in hand to engage correctly. Working with non-desk employees to develop clear intrinsic goals and acting as a model for them through open dialogue will create a more motivating and fulfilling factory floor.

Want to learn more about how to motivate your production workers and help your bottom line? Sign up for a free personal demo below to see how Beekeeper will help you reach, connect, and motivate your entire manufacturing team. You can also download the Seaboard Food case study to see how Beekeeper has transformed their manufacturing operations.
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