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Rita Harris November 22, 2016 3 min read

Tips for communicating employee benefits successfully to Millennials

This has been an incredible millennium. We’ve witnessed so many advances: Smartphones have revolutionized the way we communicate and access information. Self-driving cars are maneuvering the streets. And another first is on the horizon: five generations sharing the workplace. A concept that is both intriguing and a little bit terrifying as each generation has its own wants, needs, and expectations about communication from their employer. And what about Millennials? Are they really that different? In a word, yes. As their numbers and influence grow (they currently make up the largest share of the workforce), it’s vital to understand what they value so that you can reach them effectively. And guess what? Your older generations will appreciate a fresh communication approach, too!

Let’s talk generations

Most workers have limited time and energy for benefits communication, but Millennials place exceptional value on their time. They like their content served up like their coffee—fast, highly customized, and when and where it’s convenient for them. They’re skilled surfers—skimming over anything that’s boring or irrelevant. To truly engage this crowd, content must be concise, accurate, and current, and the benefits of consuming it immediately evident. (But don’t skimp on the important details.) As a connected generation, Millennials also appreciate social collaboration tools to get and make recommendations to colleagues about resources they’ve found valuable.

When it comes to Millennials’ preferred form of media—you guessed it—digital reigns supreme. And while older generations steer more toward print and face-to-face communication, it turns out they won’t be put off by the digital communication channels your younger workers prefer. The thing to keep in mind is that generational labels are just that—labels. Regardless of age, everyone has a different learning style. Creating a healthy communication ecosystem composed of a variety of channels allows all employees to engage with your content in their preferred method.

*Source: 2015 Pew Research Center

Five ways to capture the attention of Millennials (and all your other employees)

1. Hey, “you”! Personalize and humanize

Millennials appreciate being acknowledged as unique individuals. And so does most everyone else. Even though your message may be directed at a group of thousands, it’s being received one person at a time. Addressing employees as “you” (versus in the third person) automatically feels warmer and gets people’s attention. Even better, take it a step further and personalize with an individual’s name whenever possible.

2. Tap into the power of peers

According to the Edelman 2016 Trust Barometer, the employee voice is more credible than the CEO. While this is true across the generations, it’s especially true for Millennials. If you’re trying to launch a new benefit or just increase engagement in existing programs, ask employees who are already enrolled in or taking advantage of the program to provide a testimonial. Seeing peers vouch for a program will help convince other employees to take the plunge themselves. Consider capturing testimonials on video or include employee quotes.

3. Use everyday language

Many Millennials (especially recent grads) aren’t very savvy about benefits. Come to think of it, everyone else is pretty lost, too. Explain common key terms—such as deductible, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximum—up front and with words used by humans.

4. Make it fun

There’s a reason the Internet is filled with cat videos instead of videos explaining how benefits work. One is fun and the other is, well, not. But there’s no reason you can’t inject personality and even appropriate humor into your benefits materials. Try snappy and eye-catching headlines (Health, yeah!), a light-hearted introduction before getting to the nitty-gritty, or a surprising image.

5. Reflect employees’ priorities

Your benefits package is designed to appeal to workers of all ages—but different generations have different priorities and need to use your benefits differently. For example, Millennials may be more focused on getting out of debt than saving for retirement. Gen Xers might be all about saving for their kids’ education. And Boomers are tantalized by tax saving opportunities. Reflect the priorities of your generations by making personalized recommendations—think Amazon’s recommendations based on your purchases—to help people quickly identify the benefits that support their life.

See how Intuit's user-centric, targeted website content is helping each generation connect to what's important to them:

Need help getting ready for your new majority workforce, or improving the effectiveness of your communications? Let’s talk.

Rita Harris

Rita Harris, VP Senior Consultant, is known for her ability to break down complex benefits programs into their essential parts, so employees can quickly assess “what’s in it for me.”