Deliver me from Benefits Communications

If your company is big enough, more than likely, your internal communications team spends a good part of its time talking to employees about benefits. There’s a reason for that. Not only are employee benefits a big part of most compensation programs, but there are also some legal requirements to disclose certain information about retirement and health insurance benefits to employees on a regular basis. Plus, when it comes to compensation, employees care a lot. (On our Intranet, those links are routinely listed as the ones most searched for.)

I get all that.

But I have to be honest, there’s nothing I hate more in employee communications than writing about benefits. Because of the legal requirements, most human resources professionals feel compelled to fill their communications with jargon and buzzwords that end up leaving employees confused and numb. I’ve worked on some benefits communications programs before — annual enrollment, 401 (k) sign ups, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance efforts, etc. — and they all leave me cold. (In the benefits world, HR people don’t improve your retirement benefits, they “enhance” them. Similarly, they don’t raise your health insurance premiums, they “rationalize certain cost savings”. Bleh!)

That’s why I was interested to read that ADP, the payroll management company, offers a suite of services aimed at helping employee communications teams manage their benefits communications programs. On the face of it, that sounds like it could be a very cost effective solution to serve the needs of a large company’s HR team.

But I wonder if an ADP or other firm specializing in benefits communications would be able to capture the voice of the rest of my company’s internal communications. Would their work be seamless in the eyes of the employees? More importantly, would an ADP be able to integrate their work with the various external communications efforts underway?

I think it’s an intriguing possibility, but given the large number of benefits providers who work with a huge company like mine, I’m not sure outsourcing that communications function would be practical. (Althought it sure would be appealing to get rid of that headache!)

If you’re with ADP or another firm who manages benefits communications as a contractor, how do you go about overcoming skepticism from people like me in your sales process?


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