If employees will have to bear a larger share of health benefits in your next plan year—whether in higher premiums, deductibles or copays—you can expect to get an earful during your upcoming open enrollment period. Here are four ways to prepare employees for changes and—perhaps—soften the sting:
- Start early. Open enrollment may be a few weeks away, but now is the time to introduce the idea that costs are going up. Communicate that you are doing your best to minimize the effects on their wallets.
- Bring leaders into the conversation. Have them explain to employees that business realities are what’s driving the change. Translation: This isn’t all HR’s fault! Encourage informal brown-bag discussions between employees, HR and the organization’s .
- Talk candidly about benefits changes. Explain exactly how much extra it will cost them for health coverage. Use statistics to show that this trend is happening at most U.S. companies. For example, 32% of employer-provided plans now have deductibles above $1,000, triple the 2009 percentage.
- Create messages appropriate to different groups of employees. Tailor messages so employees understand benefits changes in ways that are relevant to them. Employees will react differently to higher costs depending on how much they earn. Those at different life stages will have different needs.