How to Build a Benefits Content Calendar

How to Build a Benefits Content Calendar

A benefits content calendar helps you communicate to employees about their benefits. As a communicator, a content calendar also helps your sanity. This document organizes all the messages you want to deliver this year in a single place. This makes collaboration easier. You won’t struggle for ideas or skip important milestones.

A benefits content calendar is a great way to plan for the future. It’ll keep you on track to send information year round. You determine what employees need to know and when. Create messages that educate and involve employees in how to choose and use their benefits.

This is crucial, because you want employees to make smart decisions. The results of a recent study Maestro Health survey of 1,000 people found just 33% completely understand their health care coverage. You, as a communicator, bridge that gap between confusion and knowledge.

If you don’t already have a one, there are lots of ways to create this document quickly and easily. Here are some tips for building your benefits content calendar.

First, create a structure for your content calendar that works for your team. Spreadsheets are a simple yet efficient option. Or you can try a collaborative online program with more features, like Asana or Trello.

Think of each column header as a step to complete on the road to final delivery of your message.

Step 1: Topics

Take the time to create a list of the topics you want to cover. Next, match them to specific times of the year. For example, messages around how to use new benefits should be communicated early. By January, employees may forget about the benefits they signed up for in October. If you have grace periods for flexible spending accounts, add reminders when building your benefits content calendar to create messages about those March deadlines.

You can also tie the calendar to outside health and wellness events. May is healthy vision month, a great time to remind your employees how to use their vision benefit. If you offer a critical illness voluntary benefit that includes incentives for certain health screenings, add reminders to distribute information during the appropriate months. For instance, communications on the importance of mammograms are a good fit for breast cancer awareness month in October. Skin cancer screening reminders can go out in November, which is healthy skin month. If you struggle over what to write, consult your calendar.

Step 2: Channels and Audience

Choose your delivery methods wisely. Would the message be better received in an email? A desk drop flyer? An article on the intranet? Make sure you reach employees where are.

Who is the intended audience? Some communications are for everyone and some have specific niches. Determine which segment of your population you’d like to reach. Don’t forget about spouses, who, research has shown, play a significant role in benefits decisions.

Step 3: Delivery Dates and Responsible Parties

A benefits content calendar keeps you on track to know when to send certain messages. It also tracks who does what. Remember everyone who needs to touch the content. Does your graphic designer need to create images? Do insurance carriers need to review the language? Include all the steps in the workflow so no details are missed.

Include space for each responsible person to initial when they’ve completed their work. If don’t use a program that automatically alerts the team when a task is completed, ask people to send a notification email. Then the next person in the chain knows to start their task. Once the final person signals their approval, it’s time to publish.

Step 4: Track Performance

A calendar saves you from wondering, ‘Did we already promote this benefit?’ However, publishing is not the last step. When building your benefits content calendar, be sure to include a column for analytics. Track how different pieces performed. Partner with your carriers to obtain utilization data. See if there was an uptick in employee actions after they read certain messages.

If you didn’t get the desired results, add a note to your benefits content calendar to push out the message in another channel. Remember, employees have different communications preferences that affect how they process information.

Step 5: Repeat

Sprinkle important messages throughout the year. Once is often not enough, repetition is key. Psychologists refer to the mere-exposure effect. Repetition leads to familiarity and familiarity leads to preference. Hearing or reading pertinent information multiple times leads employees to make choices. And choice puts benefits control in their hands

It’s rare that employees will understand information on the first pass. They need to hear it and see it many times and in many different ways. In other words, when you start to get sick of the message, they’ve just started to get it.

Strong communicators understand the importance of to-do lists and deadlines and metrics. Your content calendar helps you organize all three. Stay on top of messages to create clear, focused communications that teach employees the value of their benefits.

 

 

 

Danielle Love

Written by Danielle Love

Danielle is a benefits communications specialist, working on behalf of clients to write, edit and design dynamic print and virtual communications. She also manages the Trion Communications blog, which highlights the practice’s diverse areas of expertise.

Trion Communications Danielle.Love@trion-mma.com

Why Do I Need Identity Theft Protection Benefits?

Why Do I Need Identity Theft Protection Benefits?

We hear stories every day about the perils of identity theft. It can not only impact a person’s credit, but in some cases, their entire lives.

ID theft is not an isolated incident. In fact, identity theft was the number one complaint consumers made to the Federal Trade Commission for 15 consecutive years.

Do you offer your employees a robust identity theft protection plan as part of their benefits package? About 36% of companies offer some form of ID theft protection services as an employee benefit. This voluntary benefit is a great way to distinguish you as an employer who cares. Employees have a sense of security when they know they have a plan to protect their finances and future.

If enrollment in this benefit is not as robust as it could be, maybe it’s time to beef up your communications.

Promote the Need for Identity Theft Protection

Your employees may have questions about identity theft protection services. What exactly is ID theft? How is it different from credit card fraud? Why do I need ID theft protection? Communications should seek to solve these concerns.

Lay out the stakes. Credit card fraud is a quick and deliberate attack that’s solved with a phone call to the credit card company. Identify theft is more complicated since it’s designed to duplicate a person’s identity. The thief’s goal is to take as much as they can until they are caught. If employees are not protected by a solid ID theft plan, they could potentially lose everything

In today’s world, most hackers launch network attacks where they attempt to crack weak passwords. Add to the benefit and point employees in the direction of training to learn about safe data management practices. These include the use of strong passwords and the avoidance of suspicious email links and websites.

Communicate About ID Theft Protection During Open Enrollment

During open enrollment, your employees feel overwhelmed as they try to navigate through all the options.  After learning about their other benefits, they might not have the bandwidth to process more information. Identity theft protection is usually an employee-paid benefit. So, use your communications to emphasize its worth.

Make it easy with targeted pieces of information about ID theft protection services. Lay out what the benefit entails and why it makes sense. Recovering from identity theft is a stressful process that takes time and money. A protection plan assists with some of the associated costs. These can include phone bills and postage, notary fees, costs of obtaining credit reports, and maybe legal fees. Of course, each carrier’s benefits will differ.

Carriers will have resources you can mine for data, so why make more work for yourself? Use those materials for source information and to answer common questions. Attach downloadable fact sheets to videos, place flyers in gathering spaces like lunchrooms and copy rooms and ask managers to distribute materials in meetings.

Engage with Real-Life Stories About the Value of ID Theft Protection

Engage employees with real-life scenarios that show the benefit in action. Stories add credibility behind the value of the ID theft protection benefit and create connections. Employees love to read about their co-workers and how the company’s benefits make a difference in their lives. Use stories throughout your various communications— newsletters, videos, even posters with pictures.

Helping employees stay safe and secure and protect their personal information is a great service. Thorough communications help employees appreciate the value of this benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Trion Interns

Trion Communications jill.diffendal@gmail.com

New Year, New Success!

New Year, New Success!

Happy New Year! As my colleagues and I return back to work after the holidays, getting back into the swing of things can be quite challenging. To help ease the transition and set the stage for a successful year, we take these first couple of weeks to reflect on 2016, and plan for the year ahead.

Communication and collaboration is an essential part of this process. We think about what our goals are collectively for the business as a whole, for our team, and for our own individual personal and professional development.

In the spirit of setting us all up for success in the new year, I’d like to share some tips that I feel have contributed to the success of our team here at Trion.

Weekly Meetings:

I have never worked in an environment where colleagues hold so many meetings. At first, this was overwhelming – meeting constantly and discussing many topics which I did not fully understand.

But now I realize the significance of gathering in a conference room for an hour or two to discuss the week ahead. We can openly discuss upcoming projects or assignments, our progress and feedback, and suggest ways to be more efficient. It is extremely important that everyone is on the same page. This way everyone has a full understanding of what the team is working on.

Project Plans:

There are a variety of projects we work on daily. Some may take anywhere from a day to a month, even a whole year, to complete. There are also ongoing assignments — those that are built into our routine and our marketing plans.

Additionally, we frequently receive requests that are outside of our plan of action. When they come in, we draw up a plan as to what is being requested, how it can be achieved and who will work on the project. This way, the work can be distributed evenly amongst the team. We can also take the initiative to own certain projects if we realize our team members are busy with other assignments.

Put it on the Calendar:

Our team is great about communication! We have a shared calendar, which every team member has access to, where we house all of our projects. These can be anything from email blasts to trade shows to meetings.

We place anything with a deadline in our calendar ‒ this way the entire team can see what we have coming up in the weeks/months ahead and who the project owner is. This is tremendously helpful to have on hand should any questions arise or someone needs assistance with a project.

Keep a Log:

This may be more of a personal task and coincides with our project plans and team calendar. Keeping track of all the assignments and projects I work on throughout the year is valuable. I create a spreadsheet with the name of the project, a brief description, the date I started and completed it, and what worked best or needs improvement.

This gives me a physical document to show to my boss and/or colleagues if needed, and comes in very handy during the annual performance review process. I can also use it as a tool to reflect upon everything I completed and achieved during the year, and look for ways to become more effective for the following year.

Best wishes for success in 2017!

Jaymi Crowding

Written by Jaymi Crowding

Trion Communications jaymi.crowding@trion-mma.com

Ready, Set, Get Social

Ready, Set, Get Social

Did you know that approximately 78% of the U.S. population has some type of social media account? Yet, for every Twitter handle, Facebook profile, Pinterest board, or Instagram filter, some of us haven’t quite mastered how to talk on social media – or how to best communicate to this large audience.

If you’re a business owner, marketer, communicator, or salesperson, you may be wondering how you can take advantage of power in numbers. Before you jump into the world of social media, it’s important to take a step back and think about how you really want to use these platforms. Do you want to communicate internally with your employees? Encourage peer to peer interactions? Attract new customers? Promote your brand? Whatever your answer, learning how to communicate via social media is a good place to begin. Here are a few steps you can take to get started:

  1. Segment employees. To put it simply, not everyone communicates the same way. Whether you break it down by department, job title, or age demographic, targeting your audience will help you get your message across more effectively.
  1. Identify active users. Your employees probably range from very active to not so active on social media. Reach out to your most active participants. Ask for their feedback on how the company can gain social followers—and if they’d like to help execute some of those ideas.
  1. Encourage sharing. By this, I mean content sharing. Pictures of employees at the office with coworkers, internal newsletters, awards, job openings—providing, posting and circulating content between employees is a great way to promote conversation and your brand. If you’re supplying content, be sure to include shareable text and links, hashtags and uploadable images.
  1. Be human. Be real and personal. Social media updates shouldn’t sound like they were written by a corporate-speaking robot. Transform business efforts and company values into simple, real-world language. Coming across authentically will help engage employees—and even encourage them to share more company-related information. Psst: We can help you draft content meant to be read online, like emails, tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn Pulse articles, or even text messages.

Learning how to use social media in a business setting may take some getting used to, but as it becomes more and more a part of our daily lives, it’s important to consider new ways that you can connect with employees and new audiences online. These efforts can also teach us a lot about how employees are feeling, especially about work—which could help you learn more about your company culture, work environment or even the products you offer.

So, are you ready to get social?

Written by Katie Oberkircher

Trion Communications katie.oberkircher@trion-mma.com

A Rewarding Experience

A Rewarding Experience

In this blog post, I will be talking about my summer internship here at Trion. I truly have found this to be an uplifting and outlandishly positive experience. Reflecting on this past summer, I am blessed to have worked alongside such a unique group of individuals. My time here has reassured me that marketing is the field for me—which is exactly what I set out to do this summer. I am approaching my senior year at Arizona State University and am eager to begin my professional career.

In my opinion, one of the main factors that made this internship so rewarding was the culture here. I found every member of Trion to be extremely friendly, outgoing, and extremely insightful. I gained insight into the Marketing and Communications world while here at Trion that I could not receive anywhere else. There was a wealth of positive experiences while at the same time widening my knowledge in the Marketing and Communications world.

If I was asked to talk about some of my favorite projects this summer it would be tough task, but here are some highlights. One of my favorite experiences was being able to sit in, and be included in, marketing meetings. First, it was really interesting to see all the creative minds that make up Trion. Another aspect I really enjoyed was being able to give my input and have everyone in the room openly listen and consider my ideas. Another project I worked on this summer was formulating an executive summary to be sent with a response to a Request for Proposal (RFP). In addition, I also did extensive work answering RFP’s. There was a new challenge and project every day, which made coming to the office refreshing and enjoyable.

This summer has been a great stepping stone. I believe that I have grown as a professional, and gained valuable and applicable information that has me aligned for success in the near future.

Ryan Barr is a senior majoring in Marketing and Sustainability with a minor in Media Analysis at Arizona State University, in Tempe, AZ. The facet of marketing he enjoys the most is the creative process of coming up with an effective and revenue-generating campaign.

Written by Trion Interns

Trion Communications jill.diffendal@gmail.com

An Amazing Experience I Almost Didn’t Have

An Amazing Experience I Almost Didn’t Have

My experience as a Trion Marketing and Communication intern was absolutely amazing! The tools I learned will benefit me for the rest of my life.

As I’m wrapping up my final week here, it’s funny to think what could have been if I didn’t decide to work at Trion this summer. To be honest, Trion wasn’t my first choice among the places I was looking to do my internship. I sent in my resume in at my aunt’s and my mom’s request. I just couldn’t really wrap my mind around the idea of a brokerage firm having a communications and marketing team.

My university held a career fair back in March. I applied to several marketing agencies and I got a huge response back. I chose one from all my options and decided to visit and train there over my spring break. Turns out, I didn’t really like it — it was more sales than marketing.

I felt stuck. I felt like I already committed to this place I really didn’t see myself at. But, my mom didn’t raise a quitter, so I kept telling myself, “You have to follow through. You can’t back out now.”

After about three weeks of trying to convince myself I made the right decision, my aunt called me and told me that the HR staff from Trion was trying to reach me for an interview. I was so relieved, but at the same time I felt even worse, thinking I couldn’t pursue this amazing opportunity.

I immediately called my mom for some advice and asked her, “What do I do? I already committed to this other place.”

She said, “Sam, opportunities like this don’t come very often. You need to at least go to the interview and see what it’s all about.”

So I went to the interview, and I fell in love with a company that wasn’t even among my top contenders.

My experience this summer at Trion was one to truly remember. I was treated as an equal part of the team and not just an intern. I couldn’t imagine spending my summer anywhere else. As I begin to say my goodbyes, I want to say thank you to the most amazing people I got to work with this summer. It was truly a blessing. What all of you have taught me will remain with me for the rest of my life. Thank you and the best of luck to all of you!

Samantha Causland is a senior marketing student at Philadelphia University in Philadelphia, PA. The aspect of marketing she’s most interested in is consumer behavior and understanding how to position products so that they appeal to the consumer. Samantha aspires to be the head of a marketing team one day, but for now is looking forward to graduating and landing her first position with a great marketing team.

Written by Trion Interns

Trion Communications jill.diffendal@gmail.com