Increase Employee Communication and Benefits Engagement with Text Messaging

Health benefits are complex, and if you aren’t communicating them effectively, it can be hard for employees to truly understand what they are enrolling in, which can lead to mistakes happening and unnecessary money being spent. This is why it’s so important to have the right tools in place to make sure you are reaching your employees the way they like to receive information and are communicating what they need to know to make the most educated decisions – welcome the marketing rule of 7.

According to the marketing rule of seven, “it takes an average of seven interactions with your brand before a purchase will take place.” Of course, we aren’t aiming for purchases in human resources and people leadership. But, rather intending to drive action. The First Person LASSO employee communications approach is a multi-channel employee communications model that captures employee attention and drives action. A critical tenant of the model is the use of multiple modes of communication. So very often, we find SMS is not in an employer’s communication strategy.

Text message communication – also known as short message service (SMS) – has been proven to be effective when reaching your employees. Why? Because text messages are almost guaranteed to be read with a 98% open rate and a 90% chance of being read in the first three seconds. That beats email open rate averages by nearly 70%.

Text messaging has become vital in how organizations communicate with their employees, especially employees who don’t have access to computers. In fact, 80% of workers don’t have a dedicated workspace. The good news? Ninety-eight percent of “deskless” employees are currently using phones and tablets, which is why First Person is teaming up with employers to add text messaging to their arsenal of communication tools.

Angie Ritz from Lee Supply rolled out SMS communication to employees during Open Enrollment last year. “Any information we can get in their face is good. Most people are on their phones more than computers,” she said. Lee Supply saw a nearly 50% click rate for the first message of their Open Enrollment campaign, leading employees to their online benefits enrollment tool.

Still not convinced that you should add text messaging to your employee communication? Here are three more reasons to reconsider.

Create Urgency

By utilizing text message communication, you can get your message across to your employees quickly and efficiently. Text messages are often viewed as more urgent, which is why the open rate is much higher than a typical email.

People receive between 25 and 100 emails a day. That is an insane amount of information to take in, often resulting in emails going unread. With text messaging, you can be straight to the point and are more likely to see engagement from your employees. You’ll also likely see a quicker response from employees than you would using other forms of communication.

Text messaging also allows you to answer questions quickly. Simply by setting up text messages with short answers to FAQs, questions can directly be answered about where to enroll or when Open Enrollment ends. This ensures less mistakes are made throughout the Open Enrollment period.

You can also set up reminders and alerts through text messaging. And, since we already know the likelihood of those texts being read in the first three seconds is high, employees are also more likely to complete enrollment tasks sooner than they would otherwise. Setting up text messages to go out during lunch or after work about Open Enrollment tasks helps ensure your employees don’t miss any important deadlines.

Save Time and Money

You and your organization put a lot of time and money into Open Enrollment. From picking out benefits that are best for your people to effectively communicating this complex information so it’s understood by your employees. In fact, the United States spends more than $11,000 per person annually on healthcare. Communicating your organization’s benefit information doesn’t have to add to the expense.

There are text messaging platforms that are available for free like SlickText and Textedly. If you want to immediately communicate to your employees about Open Enrollment and what benefits you’re offering, these text messaging platforms are a simple solution for cutting back costs.

In addition to text messaging being cost-efficient, it also can save time for your HR team and employees. On average, companies spend 336 hours every year on Open Enrollment. Scheduling text messages can help cut back on that time. It’ll also save employees time from having to track down an email with important information or from trying to remember where they need to enroll – it’ll already be right at their fingertips.

Easily Track Effectiveness

Even if you’re utilizing a free text messaging platform, you will still have access to link click rates, click activity timing and opt-outs. You can even get immediate feedback from employees by sending a survey via text. Bulk SMS surveys are easy to conduct and track answers in real-time automatically.

SMS surveys are a way for employees to share their feedback about how Open Enrollment went and the benefits they were offered. It’s also an opportunity for you to hear what employees are saying and make adjustments based on that feedback.

Text message communication is an important tool to use when trying to reach your employees. It can help both your organization and employees save time and money by cutting back on enrollment mistakes.

If you’re interested in to learn how text messaging can impact your employee benefits communication strategy, contact us or reach out directly to our advisory team to see how we can help!

Written by Matt Simanski, Enterprise Employee Communications Consultant. Feel free to drop him a note or reach out on LinkedIn.