We live in an age of information overload. Mail piles up (both at the front door and in our e-mail inboxes) due to the volume we receive on a daily basis. Many of us quickly and automatically trash (or, if paper, recycle) everything but bills, personal or business letters, or other items that we can quickly identify as of interest or importance.
For employers, this situation adds to the challenge of communicating employee benefits matters. Employers, more than ever, are faced with developing benefits communications that employees don’t automatically zone out. Thinking about the employees in your work force and attempting to customize, or target, communications to different employee groups can help make your communications efforts more effective.
Today’s work force comprises roughly three “generations” of employees: Baby Boomers, born from 1964 and earlier; Generation X, born from 1965-1980; and Generation Y, born after 1980. Each group has different needs and focuses.
Young and in the early stages of their working careers, members of Generation Y are unlikely to be thinking about the importance of saving for retirement. They might also still have that feeling many of us have when we are very young, of infallibility and immortality, and therefore not pay attention to the health benefits their employer offers. Used to quick-changing media images, individuals in this group likely will have short attention spans, and as such could be more receptive to communications that are brief, eye-catching, and to the point, and to electronic media, such as e-mail and Internet.
Many Generation Xers are at a time in their lives when they have significant competing financial responsibilities — raising a family, acquiring a home, thinking forward to future retirement and children’s college education, and perhaps contributing toward the care of elderly parents. These employees will have been in the work force long enough to be aware of retirement plans, but might not be contributing (or not contributing enough) because of their competing financial responsibilities. Making budgeting tools a highlight of retirement plan communications could be one way to get the attention of this group. Another benefits resource likely to be useful to this group is the resource and referral services of an employee assistance program (EAP), for childcare and eldercare referrals. However, these employees might not be as aware of EAP availability as they are, say, of a retirement or health plan. Leading off communications with how the EAP can be a resource for helping to juggle multiple responsibilities can be a gateway to information on other relevant benefits.
Nearing retirement, many Baby Boomers are catching up on missed savings opportunities while preserving the value of any wealth that they have accumulated. They also might be more focused on health issues as they grapple with the effects of aging. Communications that home in on these topics are likely to generate more interest among members of this employee group.
The concept behind targeted communications is simple: We are more likely to pay attention to what interests us. Determining how to reach each group, and crafting communications accordingly, can lead to an increased ability to communicate more effectively with each group. Our benefits specialists can help. Contact us today!