Companies face unique challenges with communicating benefits education to employees, especially when dental and supplemental plans can change on a regular basis. It’s no longer limited to open enrollment periods. Fortunately, social networks have opened up another channel for sharing benefits education and resources with employees. When managed properly, any organization can tap into social media for effective benefits communications, including engaging with employees about their dental benefits and good oral health.
Social Media Leads the Way
According to Statista, in 2016 there will be an estimated 2.13 billion social media users worldwide, which represents about one-third of the world’s entire adult population. On average, people spend 50 minutes or more each day engaged in social networking activities, and 73 percent of smartphone owners check their social apps at least once a day, based on data from Search Engine Journal. This represents a golden opportunity for companies to share dental benefits information with employees on social networks and apps.
Best Practices as a Benefits Education Channel
It’s relatively simple to get started with creating a central social media platform to educate employees about their employer-sponsored dental benefits and oral health topics. The following steps and best practices can help to make this a success.
1. Choose the right social network for your organization. Does your company already have a blog or another social account where you regularly share corporate information and updates? This should be your go-to source for setting up a branded social network for your dental benefits information portal.
2. Create a benefits education section on the social channel. Set up a secure folder, page, or group where your organization will be sharing dental benefit information with employees. This can be a page with downloadable documents and links to dental benefits enrollment information. Add dental and oral health educational videos for greater impact.
3. Update the social network often with dental benefits information. Establish a calendar for releasing educational information about the company’s group dental benefits and stick to a theme each month. For example, during the first quarter, employees will be looking for information about weight loss, fitness, diet, and good oral health. In the summer, they may be looking for information about back-to-school dental exams and care.
4. Make the social network ERISA compliant. According to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), as governed by the US Department of Labor, administrators of group benefit plans must furnish summary plan documents that include plan information, financial information, and any group rules. Provide a complete schedule of dental insurance rates, coverages, and requirements in a digital document.
5. Appoint a central point of contact for the social network. The beauty of social networks is that they are a highly responsive way to get information out to employees. But, it’s a two-way street for communication. Make sure you have a knowledgeable benefits administrator acting as a point of contact to monitor and answer any questions about dental coverage that come in via the social comment feed.
6. Use the social network to highlight oral health at work. If your organization wants to get maximum use out of the educational component of a social network, then share content and success stories about good oral health happening in the workplace. For example, you can share photos and updates of employees who have turned poor oral health around and now have great smiles. Talk about ways to reduce dental costs and encourage regular checkups for preventing cavities and other problems.
7. Utilize other digital communication tools whenever appropriate. Cross-promotion of your benefits educational program on other platforms is made easier by social networks. Include a link to your dental benefits network on the company website, in email signatures, on the company LinkedIn profile, in digital job advertisements, and when conducting employee onboarding sessions. Encourage employees to share social media posts with their own personal networks too. The more you share, the more employees you can impact using social networking.
The sky is the limit when it comes to using social media for employee dental benefits education and communication. Be creative and encourage participation and open dialogue with all your employees by using this effective medium.