Overcoming Employee Communication Challenges

oswaldcompanies July 22, 2021

Communicating with employees has always been a vexing problem. Though, we can’t blame it on too little communication, considering the amount of emails and phone calls zoom through offices every day, even beyond the traditional office hours. And considering how fast-paced businesses run, we aren’t stopping to consider if our communication capabilities are enhancing our business and our employee satisfaction.

When it comes to employee benefit communications, it’s an even larger uphill battle. Let’s be honest: Benefits are confusing. Confusion leads to stress, stress leads to avoidance, and avoidance leads to making the same expensive mistakes every year. Nearly 50 percent of employees find making decisions about benefits very stressful. 1 That’s a staggering number.

Common communication challenges include:

  • Multi-generational workforce
  • Desked employee compared to non-desked employees
  • Information overload
  • Pre-pandemic
  • Post-pandemic

So, what’s the solution?

Unfortunately, there’s not one perfect, go-to fix for every employer. However, there are numerous tools and techniques that will help improve the communication within your business, effectively. Understanding and using these will allow Human Resource professionals to approach the topic with the proper expectations, yielding better results. At Oswald, we understand these challenges and have created innovative solutions to help improve our clients’ benefits program, staying on top of trends and continuing to be a leader in our industry.

Getting Started: Set a Strategy

Communications, especially employee benefit communications is best viewed as a way to achieve certain strategic objectives of the organization. What’s the intention? Starting with this direction in mind helps ensure that the communications campaign has a specific purpose. The purpose can be very broad, such as building a certain culture or work environment that management believes is well lead to hire employees. It can be job satisfaction, reduced turnover, lower training costs, lower hiring costs or just better outcomes across the board. While these are difficult to measure, they are certainly worthwhile to pursue.

Other employee communication challenges might be much more targeted. For example, data from the health plan may indicate a high number of emergency room visits or brand name prescription drugs being purchased. Very focused communication campaigns can be developed around these topics to reduce overall health care spend for the organization.

Identify Communication Needs

More so today than ever, we receive more information than we can absorb. With so much coming at us, things are bound to get lost in the shuffle. What are your biggest hurdles when it comes to communicating important information, like benefits, to your employees? Are general broadcasts getting skipped over? Are you being specific enough for your employees to take action? One of the best ways to uncover this is to simply ask your employees, “What can we do better?” After all, they are your greatest asset. Customer satisfaction and loyalty is tied to employee job gratification, resulting in increased productivity. And of course, we all have different communication styles. The key is identifying those. When workplace communication is functioning well, employees get information in a timely manner, ask the right questions, and understand it completely.

For more information visit our Global Benefits page or contact us here.


(Sources: Unum Annual Enrollment Guide 2019; 2. The Guardian Workplace Benefits Study; Sixth Annual 2018)

Note: This communication is for informational purposes only. Although every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, Oswald makes no guarantees of any kind and cannot be held liable for any outdated or incorrect information. View our communications policy.