We take pride in developing communication that helps our clients achieve their business and benefit objectives. So when it came time to create a campaign for our own Milliman employees, we put our tried-and-true best practices to the test. The results speak for themselves. The 2020 Open Enrollment campaign was honored with a Gold Quill Award in Human Resources and Benefits Communication from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).
For the first time in two decades, Milliman planned to transition to new benefit carriers, including a new medical plan administrator and prescription drug provider. This would require all employees to actively enroll for 2020 benefits. The Human Resources (HR) team wanted to make people aware of the changes, reassure them the changes would cause little to no disruption, and motivate employees to enroll.
To achieve these objectives, the HR team partnered with our in-house experts. We developed and implemented a communication strategy that included an overarching benefits brand to heighten awareness and a multimedia campaign to highlight plan changes and the enrollment call to action.
Our overall goals were to educate employees about the plan changes, help them weigh their plan options and make the right choices, and drive them to enroll by the deadline.
Our first step was developing a cohesive brand for the campaign to drive awareness, create continuity, and emphasize Milliman’s best‐in‐class, affordable benefits. The brand we created, “Benefits = Coverage You Can Count On,” showcases all the ways Milliman benefits make employees’ lives better. The math references throughout the campaign (equals, count) cleverly tie in to Milliman’s actuarial roots. Our approach included the following tactics:
- Promote the positive. Reassure employees their doctors would still be in the network and healthcare costs were not increasing for 2020.
- Keep it conversational. Use friendly, conversational language to pull in readers.
- Inspire action. Include a clear call to action and appeal to scanner and linear readers.
- Repeat to retain. Repeat key messages across all deliverables.
- Reward early action. Promote drawings for healthy prizes. The earlier employees confirmed their elections, they more chances they had to win healthy prizes.
We developed cascading communication, beginning with a leadership announcement for principals and a manager overview to Office and Practice Administrators (OPAs). Employee communication included a change mailer, a benefits decision guide, and an email series, as well as face-to-face meetings and webinars.
Employee engagement exceeded our expectations, as shown in the infographic.
In addition to quantitative results, we also received qualitative results that demonstrated employees found the communication engaging and helpful. Following are sample employee comments:
- “It was great to have a campaign of information cascading over time to make sure we all understood what was happening and what action we needed to take! Loved the materials!”
- “The materials really grabbed my attention this year — I actually paid attention and made sure to enroll on time!”
By communicating early and often, Milliman ensured a smooth Open Enrollment process. The keys to the campaign’s success were:
- Developing a comprehensive strategy with measurable objectives
- Creating a strong visual brand to tie communication together
- Ensuring leadership support and providing leaders advance notice of the changes so they could be prepared to answer employee questions
- Delivering the message across a variety of media to appeal to different demographics and personal preferences
- Clearly explaining the changes and outlining the call to action