Chances are you’re answering a lot of employees’ questions about your company’s benefits during this open enrollment season. 

With so many employees pressed for time, they’re likely not poring over your benefits handouts as thoroughly as they should be. That places more of a burden on you to make sure employees are making smart benefits elections.

Adhering to a few best practices when responding can help employees better utilize their benefits, improve benefits satisfaction and even improve their health.

Here are three of the best communication techniques, pulled from a slew of great ideas shared with Corporate Wellness Magazine, by Shawn M. Connors, president of Hope Health, a company built to help employers improve benefits communications:

Ditch the jargon

When employees have to decode a bunch of legalese or technical terms, they turn a deaf ear.

As a result, you can’t focus on the info first – focus on the reader first. What can he or she understand?

Keep telling yourself: You’re not “dumbing it down,” you’re making it easy to understand.

Keep it short

Clarity and brevity are the one-two punch needed to keep employees’ attention so they can act on what you’re telling them.

When writing or speaking, think sound bites, billboards, headlines and teasers.

Try to keep your communications to 100 words or fewer.

Break up copy

Whether you’re using email or print, don’t make employees read a wall of copy.

Include subheads, sidebars, pull quotes, charts and boxes so information can be absorbed and sorted at a glance.

Employees will scan any document you give them for points of interest to them. If they don’t find any in about three seconds, you’ve lost them.

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