No two employees are the same. Yet, many companies take a generic, one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to healthcare benefits education — which isn't effective and therefore becomes a common source of frustration for benefits managers.
While it's not realistic to tailor education to every single employee, we recommend striking a balance by breaking down your organization into personas, which represent a cluster of employees who share similar behavioral patterns, motivations, and pain points.
Below, we give you a sneak peek into three of the four common workplace personas we've identified from our conversations with benefits leaders, along with an education tip specific to each group. Of course, this isn't an end-all-be-all overview, but it should give you a better sense into the specific pain points, motivations, and communication preferences of the various demographics among your employees.
1. The traditionalistThese employees have often been at the company for many years and are afraid of "rocking the boat." Perhaps they've been on the same insurance plan since the beginning of their career, and the idea of switching over to a HDHP is terrifying to them because they have negative associations with it and don't trust that it'll help them.
- Education tip: For the traditionalist, it can really help to collect and share testimonials from other employees who have had a positive experience with their HDHP. This can be distributed via your intranet, in your company's weekly newsletter, or anywhere else that meets your employees where they already are. The validation that other peers have already tested and had positive experiences with the HDHP may make the traditionalist feel more at ease.
2. The number cruncher
The number cruncher is motivated most by cost savings. They might be attracted to the lower premiums that come with HDHPs, but are probably wary of the high deductible on paper. They need to see the proof that a HDHP will save them money over time.
- Education tip: For these employees, build a plan comparison spreadsheet (or calculator, if you have the resources to build one) that explicitly demonstrates how much less expensive a HDHP can be compared to their current plan. For instance, if they were to spend $1,000 or $5,000 on a PPO vs. an HDHP, what would that look like? You should check with your broker to see if they have a spreadsheet already handy (many do!).
3. The straight shooter
These employees tend to get frustrated by the never-ending jargon and acronyms of healthcare, and they crave simple, in-person communication to make their options crystal clear. Otherwise, they're not going to bother reading any of your benefits or HR communications.
- Education tip: Even though it's tricky in healthcare, ty to cut out as much of the jargon in your communications as possible. Another way of accomplishing this is to host an in-person education session around open enrollment, and again at various points throughout the year, since face-to-face explanations can frequently save employees from confusion and miscommunication — and also allow them to ask questions live, instead of sitting on them and forgetting about them.
Hopefully, this gives you a general sense of the various types of employee personas that might exist in your organization. While this list is far from all-encompassing, it gives you a starting point and is a better strategy for healthcare benefits education compared to taking a blanket approach. To see what the fourth persona is and to collect more personalized education tips, download our guide on successfully implementing a HDHP below.