How to Simplify Benefits Communication for Open Enrollment

How to Simplify Benefits Communication for Open Enrollment

This post was first published in 2019 and was updated in 2021.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein

Benefits communication is notoriously tricky. Lunch and learns? Employees resent taking time out of a busy day. Long emails? They’re all too easy to ignore. Hard copies of your benefits booklet? Expect them to be quickly stuffed into a desk drawer with best intentions for review “when things slow down.”

You already know that good communication can make all the difference in your employees’ benefits experience. With recruiting and retention more difficult than ever, it can also drive employee engagement and help your company stand out as a great place to work. So how’s a benefits administrator supposed to cut through the noise? Review these seven tried-and-true strategies now to make the most of your open enrollment benefits communication.

Write Like a Fifth Grader

Great communicators know the best way to introduce a new subject is to K.I.S.S: keep it simple, stupid. Think about the way Apple advertises that an iPhone has “just the right amount of everything.” Instead of leaning on technical jargon, the company relies on words like “magical” and “powerful.” Most people don’t understand, or care, about tech specs. They want a cell phone that does the things they need. In other words, they’re more interested in the benefits than the features.

Apple communicates in simple terms that even a 10-year-old can understand.
Now, ask yourself: could a 10-year-old understand most of your workplace communication? Would their eyes glaze over if you tried to explain HDHPs, co-insurance, HSA, co-payment, or HRA? Resist the urge to use the industry’s newest acronym. Remember, your employees have been snoozing through benefits presentations for years. Basic English is your safest bet for clear communication about your benefits package.

To gauge the clarity of your communications, try a tool like Hemingway Editor, which applies a reading level to your text, or use Microsoft Word’s readability tool to find out your Flesch-Kincaid readability score. These tools help you apply a measurable number to your communication strategy. Once you know the baseline, you can begin improving year over year, ensuring each open enrollment period is marked by more effective communication than the last.

Put Benefits in Context with Real-World Examples

Use examples to help employees understand how benefits will make their lives better. Attach an example scenario to every one of your benefits offerings. If you’re talking about telemedicine, don’t say it’s “available 24/7/365.” Point out that parents can use their new telemedicine benefit to quickly get answers when their new baby is running a fever on Thanksgiving (or, feel free to share this amazing member story with your employees!). If you’re discussing a formulary, give a tangible example of the cash price for Lipitor versus the cost on their plan. Humans relate to stories. So when they remember a relatable example, employees are more likely to think “I think I’ll one of those new employee benefits a try.”

No One Cares About Benefits Communication (Until They Do)

Keeping workplace communication interesting can feel like a losing battle. After all, you’re not exactly working with the juiciest subject matter. You know that health insurance is boring. You know that deductible changes in your latest benefits plan are dry. You even know that most people would rather Britney Spears, the NBA playoffs, or their favorite new restaurant — really, truly, anything else.

But you also know the chances are good that employees will need their healthcare benefits in the next year. It’s important to reiterate that knowing what their coverage looks like now can save them money down the road. It’s just one reason a healthcare guidance platform is so critical to employee engagement and, ultimately, employee satisfaction. With turnover so high some are referring to this time period as the “great resignation,” ensuring employees get the message and see the value in their benefits is more critical than ever. Regular communication is how you get there. Offering a centralized hub for benefits navigation and communication beyond open enrollment can help bridge the gap year-round.

Read our Employee Benefits Communication Guide for more.

Personalize Your Message

The ultimate goal of your benefits communication is an emotional shift from indifferent to engaged.

To achieve that goal, your internal communication must be customized to your audience’s life experiences. An open enrollment meeting for senior management won’t match one for employees on the factory floor.

Consider segmenting your communications for different email lists, focusing on the pain points that create an emotional shift for your audience. You may also need to rely on different platforms in order to communicate with different teams. If the sales team is always on the road, for example, email may not even be the answer. You may want to tell them about your new EAP benefit via text message or rely on communications broadcast through your benefits app.

Brainstorm ways to segment your audience and tweak your message. HealthJoy’s virtual assistant, JOY, will personalize messages for users on a one-on-one basis based on their habits, and can and do it at scale.

Make Great Self-Service Digital Communication Tools Available

The benefits marketplace is in a state of constant change. Tools and tech are just one way to provide your employees with a simpler communication experience. It’s worth asking: is your benefits package providing the best possible self-service tools to your employees? Engagement metrics reveal a lot about the employee benefits experience, so it can be helpful to review them every year (especially ahead of open enrollment).

Calculate how much those tools are costing you for every use. Even the cheapest tools are expensive when the cost per use skyrockets due to low utilization. The key lies in building a connected experience that draws a straight line from your digital communication to the solution itself. When you can broadcast benefits communications through a single tool, then use that same tool to connect employees to healthcare navigation, virtual care, and support tools they can use year-round, employees are far more likely to actually use that tool. And your HR team is far more likely to save hundreds of hours a year.

Read our Employee Assistance Program Guide for more.

Make Benefits Communications More Digestible

Your employees can lose interest in your communications in a matter of seconds. It’s crucial that you capture their attention and deliver your core message as quickly as possible. Yet the typical benefits booklet consists of over 200 pages of material. This information overload doesn’t stop after open enrollment ends. It’s common to see multi-page emails and other digital communication go out to employees on a monthly basis. When the brain sees too much information, it simply disengages. That’s why the “two-second rule” is an essential yardstick for clear communication.

Make sure anything you produce is scannable, with a simple hierarchy that gives priority to the most important information. It should only contain the most essential points of your message. Good communication isn’t good if employees don’t read what you share, so deliver your employee benefits communication in bite-sized pieces, rather than sending the whole meal.

Make It Visual

You’ve heard “a picture is worth a thousand words.” So don’t forget to add graphics like on-brand images, authentic photos, animated GIFs, and beautiful fonts to your employee communications. According to Xerox, using color in communications increases attention span and recall by 82% and motivation by 80%. Need employees to respond during open enrollment? Add some color!

Another study on the “Principles of Educational Multimedia User Interface Design” showed that information presented in a visual manner results in 3X better recall than verbal. The results increased to 6X better recall if you combine visual and oral communication.

The bottom line: adding relevant graphics to your emails, going beyond text in your presentations, and even dabbling in video helps your message hit the mark.

Clear Communication Matters Beyond Open Enrollment

The employee experience your HR team is building goes well beyond OE, and clear communication should, as well. Applying the principles above to employee communication throughout the year will help employees understand and use their benefits better. But because employees have so much on their plates, offering a helping hand in the form of live support and convenient self-service tools is essential as well.

In short, giving employees the information they need is not enough: to really drive employee satisfaction, your organization needs to combine good communication with the healthcare navigation support employees crave. That’s how we create healthier, happier employees.

How Industry Leaders are Adapting to Appeal to Top Talent

How Industry Leaders are Adapting to Appeal to Top Talent

As vaccination rates and falling COVID-19 case counts enable a “return to normal” in the U.S., HR pros across all industries are re-evaluating their traditional recruitment strategies. Job openings may have inched up to a record high of 9.2 million in May, but hiring remains sluggish.

While employees are presented with more open roles than before, they’re also mindfully seeking change: a March 2021 survey from Prudential Financial found that as many as 1 in 4 workers planned to look for a new job when the pandemic ended. Workers found renewed clarity around what they want and need most during the pandemic — raising the stakes for employers and their HR teams.

Anxiety around workforce staffing is palpable. In our latest Pulse Survey of 334 HR pros, 80% said they’re worried about retaining employees in 2021; 76% said they’re worried about hiring top talent. So we asked: What can companies do to appeal better to top talent in 2021?

From retail to education, we asked industry leaders which fundamental shifts in recruiting are helping them hire and retain talent in a newly competitive landscape. Check out their responses below.

Retention Plays a Role, Too

Happy people don’t leave good jobs. If top talent is leaving the company, they are likely unhappy, under-appreciated, or both. And these feelings were likely here long before COVID. Companies concerned with a staff mass exodus should take a long and critical look at their culture, compensation, and benefits for clues regarding employee satisfaction and longevity. Because for many, life is too short to work in a toxic environment or for insufficient pay and benefits.

Offer clear trajectories for career growth. Of Glassdoor.com’s Top 10 Reasons for Employee Resignations (Source), “lack of career growth” ranked #7. Gone are the days of the “lifer” employee; the average employee now spends 2-3 years in a role before moving on, often to a more senior role elsewhere. Blame younger generations’ lack of loyalty if you must, but the truth is: companies no longer offer the same protections, promotions, and incentives to their legacy employees that they once did. Leaders who truly value long-term employee commitments should incentivize, rather than punish, employee loyalty.

Rethink what a workweek looks like. In addition to bumping the minimum wage up, there are increasing calls to reduce the workweek from five days to four and the workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours. If anything, the biggest post-COVID change in employee mindset is a reprioritization of work/life balance. Remote work, gig work and freelancing have all changed the landscape for employees who no longer want to work in an office 40+ hours per week.

Jordan Lowry Headshot

Jordan Lowry, Co-Founder, Resumoo

 

Many companies fail to draw in and retain top talent because they don’t treat high performers how they expect to be treated. These people want flexibility, time off, and benefits that make their families’ lives more comfortable. Attracting top talent, therefore, requires firms to turn a critical eye on their benefits and career development packages, especially during exit interviews, and commit to improving any shortcomings.

Trevorlarson

Trevor Larson, CEO, Nectar

 

To improve employee retention, companies need to implement new business standards. Even if a company doesn’t agree with a switch to remote or hybrid work, there are tons out there that do. For that reason, if, as a company, you’re not offering your employees to have some sort of hybrid schedule, there’s definitely a chance that they will seek out an employer that does.

The best way for companies to attract and retain talent in 2021 is to offer flexible working options. Employees have already made it clear that a full-time return to the office could be what sends them off in search of a new job. Candidates have multiple options available, and those companies with flexible work policies will be at the top of their lists. Offering hybrid work schedules, allowing for flexibility in working hours, and ensuring that remote work is an option as well are all ways to make your company more attractive to candidates.

Gabriel Dungan Headshot

Gabriel Dungan, CEO and Founder, ViscoSoft

 

Insight: Employees like their benefits, but crave more flexibility and support.

Employers looking to expand on employee benefits should consider popular benefits that can help workers achieve a better work-life balance. When asked to choose three benefits they would find most valuable, our Employee Benefits Insights Survey revealed employees wanted:

  • The ability to work from anywhere (57%)
  • Unlimited PTO (52%)
  • Full tuition reimbursement for professional development (48%)

 

Be Open to Change

Our previous experience as a fully remote company has kept us afloat while other companies struggled. The stress that other companies seem to have around the hiring process has not rung true for our company. I believe this is largely due to the fact that we have been a fully remote company since 2015. Because of our experience working remotely the pandemic was not as disruptive as it was for many employers. We haven’t seen a downturn in employee retention and I expect this will remain the same in the coming year.

Highlight your company’s remote work perks. Coming out of the pandemic many employees are seeking new demands when it comes to remote work. Many employees will no longer settle for traditional office hours. If your company wants to appeal to top talent make sure that you offer hybrid and remote work environments that appeal to a wide range of applicants.

Ouriel Lemmel Headshot

Ouriel Lemmel, CEO and Founder, WinIt

 

In order to attract the best talent, a company should establish an excellent company culture that reflects on their workers, management, and different processes. It should create an environment where people would want to work, starting with building good relationships with their current and potential employees.

The company should also make sure that their values are consistently upheld and aligned with their employees’ goals, which would then translate in their work ethic and feedback on the management. The company can appeal better to top talents just by their reputation itself as word of mouth spreads fast. Sooner or later good candidates would seek to apply for a position in the company, especially when they learn that it puts a premium on their workers, gives them room to grow, and allows for a sense of fulfillment.

Vanessa Phan

Vanessa Phan, Managing Consultant for HR, Cardinal Education

 

I found that reaching out beyond the usual hiring pool has helped us source great employees and freelancers. Our brand is international with HQ in California. We always wanted to hire local, but due to the difficulties in finding suitable candidates, we cast our net further, globally.

I have been using LinkedIn a lot to find these candidates. Traditionally we depended on placed ads on online sites with our job description. Now with LinkedIn, I can enter in some keywords and scroll through many a profile that is suitable for our needs. LinkedIn members actively seeking employment have badges stating Looking For Work. I still reach out to others too, and if they are not available they are able to recommend me to someone who is.

I found very serious professionals on this platform who have helped keep our company in a competitive situation throughout the pandemic. … Hiring managers need to think outside of the box now, and by box I mean borders.

Jane Neo Headshot

Jane Neo, Co-Founder and Brand Director, KeaBabies

an image of a woman pointing to a chart representing a pulse survey

Webinar

How to Accelerate Recruiting and Retention with Delightful Benefits

While it’s harder than ever to hire and retain top talent, HealthJoy’s research has uncovered a valuable recruitment and retention tool companies overlook: Employee benefits. Learn more from expert panelists in our upcoming webinar. 

Insight: Recruiting talent means looking further afield.

Our Employee Benefits Insights Survey found that across all age groups, 57% of respondents want the ability to work from anywhere. That result isn’t shocking, given how remote work has always been popular. However, what started as a perk evolved into the norm for most businesses during a worldwide health crisis. By removing the geographic boundaries that limit talent recruitment, remote jobs result in over 20% more geographical diversity among applicants.

As an employer, that means you open yourself up to a broader and more diverse talent pool, and an opportunity to build a more inclusive workforce.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Employees What They Want

Your employee value proposition (EVP) plays a huge role in attracting the top talents. Understanding what your employees need will help you create a more appealing EVP. You can do this by sending out surveys to your regular employees to keep track of the change you need to make and adapt to the requirements of the EVP your company needs. This can be flexible working hours, more incentives such as employee discounts or facilities, bonus schemes, or other necessities that would be appealing to your potential employees.

There are several ways employers can address current recruiting and hiring challenges and better appeal to top talent during the post-pandemic “Great Resignation.”

Promote transparency in compensation and benefits (beyond the traditional ones such as healthcare or PTO) in the hiring process and throughout the company to attract and retain top talent. Our recent data report on wage inequality in the workplace found that 65% of tech workers discovered they had been paid less for the same role and as a result, nearly 40% started looking for a new job. In order to attract and retain talent in a competitive hiring market, it is critical to have open dialogues about role compensation on an ongoing basis and offer benefits that are important and relevant for today’s remote or hybrid workforce.

Promote DEI initiatives and develop an inclusive workplace and culture. For example, partnering with DEI-focused organizations to host events such as coding challenges, panel discussions, and resume-building workshops is a great way to attract a larger and diverse pool of talent. We found that for over 83% of tech workers, it is important that their employer takes meaningful steps to promote diversity and inclusion.

Offer professional growth opportunities as people are looking to be challenged at work. When we asked tech workers about what attracted them to a career in software engineering in our recent data report, 83% cited “new challenges and continuous learning.” Not providing meaningful opportunities for growth can not only deter potential candidates but also lead to employee turnover. It is critical to invest in your employees’ growth and provide ongoing opportunities for them to upskill and progress in their roles.

The best way to attract top talent in 2021 is to ask them what they need rather than assuming that all they want is more money. I frequently hear that while money is obviously a key concern, most people are concerned about getting COVID at work, the difficulty of finding childcare, affordable housing challenges, mental health support, and more. Simply put, people have broader needs than just money.

As a result, the best way for employers to attract top talent in 2021 is to be more empathetic and ask their (prospective) employees what they need.

Zach Reece Headshot

Zach Reece, Owner and COO, Colony Roofers

A New World of Recruiting

If HR teams are struggling to find encouragement within this new world of work, they could look to our contributors for some inspiration. They’re showing it’s possible to challenge traditional business models and take a more holistic approach to recruitment and retention — no matter the industry.

By listening to workers, leveraging remote hiring, and focusing on culture, they’ve identified where they or other employers have fallen short, and the necessary steps companies can take to show job seekers the willingness to pivot and prioritize employees’ needs in a post-pandemic climate.

Pulse Survey: The Top Challenges Facing Companies Hiring Right Now

Pulse Survey: The Top Challenges Facing Companies Hiring Right Now

The pandemic upended the working world, and as we cross into the third quarter of 2021, employers continue to experience job shortages and hiring difficulties. As individual companies reckon with their return to work policies, vaccine mandates,  and newly remote workers, those workers are also carefully assessing their options. Company leaders are asking: How do we attract and retain top talent? How can remote work support new workers? And what salary, benefit, and workplace policies can help companies stand out?

To dive into these questions and get a pulse on how HR teams perceive this new landscape, we surveyed 334 HR professionals about their hiring challenges and plans for 2021.

Methodology: 334 HR professionals surveyed in July, 2021

The new world of work means a new world of recruiting, too.

Over the last year, we’ve firmly flipped the switch on remote work. A PwC survey found that 78% of CEOs agree remote collaboration is here to stay; our April Employee Benefits Insights Survey found remote work was the most desirable benefit among 57% of employees. Candidates have more options and are seeking change after a difficult year forced them to reckon with priorities. Our latest pulse survey found employers are struggling to hire in this new climate.

  • 95% of those we surveyed are actively hiring for at least one open role.
  • 76% percent of respondents said recruiting in 2021 is more difficult than it was in 2020.
  • Over half, or 56%, of respondents, noticed a drop in applicants to open roles since the same time last year.
  • Only 4% said recruiting was easier than it was at this time last year.
2 Recruiting Top Talent Is

HR pros are worried about what the next year will bring.

As applications drop and jobs remain unfilled, HR pros are concerned on two fronts: hiring and retention. Those fears aren’t unfounded. A March 2021 survey from Prudential Financial found that as many as 1 in 4 workers planned to look for a new job when the pandemic ended. Our pulse survey also found that anxiety around workforce staffing is palpable. Among our respondents:

  • 80% worried about retaining employees in 2021.
  • 76% percent worried about hiring top talent in 2021.
7 Are You Worried About Retaining

To improve their hiring prospects, employers are turning to compensation first.

In a buoyant job market, employers are pulling out all the stops to appeal to new talent. The leaders we surveyed are considering compensation changes first, followed by flexible remote policies to sweeten the deal. We learned:

  • 68% said they’ve considered more competitive compensation.
  • 56% considered flexible remote work policies.
  • 38% considered flexible in-person work policies.
  • 34% considered offering better benefits.
  • 15% considered providing better health benefits.
4 Which Of The Following Factors

Employers feel prepared to onboard and educate remote talent, but doubts remain.

Changes to in-person and remote work policies means companies must update onboarding, education, open enrollment, and employee engagement strategies to encompass hybrid and remote models. Strategies previously used for in-office employees, from open enrollment meetings to perks that drive engagement, don’t apply to the estimated 40+% of employees who will continue to work remotely after the pandemic. The employers we polled were split over their preparedness. Among our pulse survey respondents:

  • 59% agreed or strongly agreed their companies were well-positioned to hire and onboard remote talent.
  • An even higher 79% agreed they were well-positioned to educate remote employees about their benefits.
  • 41% remained unsure about hiring and onboarding remote talent; 21% were unsure about remote benefits education.

Insight

In many ways, 2021 has been a test run for the changes we’ll see play out in the new world of work. Those changes, coupled with workers’ desire for new challenges and opportunities, present unique challenges to HR teams tasked with recruiting and retaining employees. Anxiety among those HR teams was apparent in our survey, with over three-quarters of respondents saying they worry about hiring and retaining top talent. Applicants to open roles are down, and three-quarters of our survey respondents agreed that recruiting in 2021 is more difficult than in the previous year.

To move the needle and appeal to both in-house and prospective talent, companies are offering higher salaries. They’re also turning to flexible remote work policies; almost half of the respondents said they were offering flexible remote policies in order to attract new talent and retain employees.

With just over one-third of respondents saying they planned to add benefits in order to appeal to top talent, and less than one-fifth reporting planned changes in medical benefits, benefits may offer recruiters an opportunity to stand out. For context, in our April survey of 1,600 employees, 56% said they place greater emphasis on benefits due to the pandemic. About half reported they were happy with their benefits, and that benefits contributed to their job satisfaction.

The results of our survey make it clear that hiring is a top concern for employers in 2021. Hiring in the new world will require more from HR teams than ever before. The lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic demanded a new way of thinking long-term, and HR pros must be willing to show job seekers their ability and willingness to innovate and pivot to better align with employees’ priorities.

an image of a woman pointing to a chart representing a pulse survey

Webinar

How to Accelerate Recruiting and Retention with Delightful Benefits

While it’s harder than ever to hire and retain top talent, HealthJoy’s research has uncovered a valuable recruitment and retention tool companies overlook: Employee benefits. Learn more from expert panelists in our upcoming webinar. 

Ten Ways to Boost Employee Morale At Your Company

Ten Ways to Boost Employee Morale At Your Company

 This post was originally published in 2017 and updated in 2021

As companies struggle with both hiring and retention in a working world completely upended by COVID-19, they can’t afford to ignore morale. Sure, a company will naturally experience ups and downs, and changes in employee morale go with the territory. If left unchecked, though, negative morale can have a long-term, detrimental effect on your company.

The first step toward improving employee morale is to find out where it stands. Maintaining a pulse on your employees’ morale on an ongoing basis is extremely important to ensure a strong company culture. We use tools like 15Five to continuously monitor our employee morale, find areas of improvement, and add hard data to our employee engagement strategy.

Over the last seven years, we’ve used these ten methods to increase employee satisfaction and boost workplace morale.

Have a Great Mission Statement

The pandemic forced many of us to reassess our priorities and yes, even our careers. As newly remote positions add opportunity and competition to the job market, how do you continue to stand out? A compelling mission is your best weapon.

According to recruiting software Indeed, job seekers use a company’s mission statement when deciding whether they want to apply. Candidates are looking for a mission statement that aligns with their values and promises work that matters. At HealthJoy, our mission is to simplify the healthcare and benefits experience.

Gallup, a global research firm that’s studied how over 2.7 million workers, uses 12 questions to measure employee engagement and predict business success. Among them: “the mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.” For millennials, the consultancy found, a strong mission was the strongest driver of retention.

Almost every company has a purpose other than just making money and giving people a paycheck. Honing your mission statement and making it easy to find-for both hiring candidates and your current employees-can make it a key feature in boosting morale.

Give Praise and Show Gratitude

The phrase “you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar” rings true here. It’s important to give your employees negative feedback when it’s warranted, but praise and gratitude are just as important. They may be “just doing their job,” but that doesn’t mean your employees don’t want to hear that you’re grateful.

It’s even more important when they succeed. Showing gratitude is a boon to employee engagement. In one 2010 study, researchers found that a manager’s expression of gratitude increased the number of calls made by fundraisers. You might think that showing gratitude increases intrinsic motivation, but the researchers found that it actually motivates us to give to others. Gratitude increases “prosocial behavior,” or behaviors that help other people, by increasing our sense of social value.

Have Fun Together

It’s easy to get stuck in professional “work mode” when you have a ton to do, but having fun with coworkers is a great morale booster. It may not be a long-term fix for low morale, but after periods of heightened stress, it can be an important way to reset. It also allows you to see other team members in a different light. We’ve gone ax throwing, seen the Cubs play, played WhirlyBall, gone on off-sites on the lake, and much more.

During the pandemic, we organized virtual happy hours, planned distanced outdoor meetups, and empowered individual teams with a stipend to be used to connect. It’s still possible to laugh together from home! And, as more employees work remotely, it’s important to offer options for connection that aren’t dependent on location. Read our post “How to Engage Remote Employees Right Now” for more tips on helping ensure a remote employee is still a happy employee.

Step Up When Needed

If you want to boost low employee morale, it may be time to stick up for your employees. If you have an angry client on the phone, take the call instead of leaving it to the entry-level employee. Have a client that everyone hates? Fire them! It might seem drastic, but putting your people first is the best step toward business success. Again, the Gallup Q12 hones in on the importance of managerial support with the question “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.”

Gallup explains that only four in 10 employees strongly agree that their supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about them as a person. Doubling that ratio could lead to an 8% improvement in customer engagement scores, 46% reduction in safety incidents, and 41% reduction in absenteeism, according to the consultancy.

Let Them Vent

Sometimes, an employee only wants to be heard. Ask for feedback, and do it often. Don’t just expect people to volunteer feedback; be proactive. Free tools like SurveyMonkey make it easy to create surveys and gauge employee feedback. We also use 15Five to get regular, structured feedback from employees, and we structure 1:1 meetings such that employees have enough open space to express what is or isn’t working. HealthJoy’s rapid expansion doesn’t allow us to leave feedback to chance, and nearly every corner of our organization has improved during this growth phase because we’ve taken time proactively seeking out employee feedback.

Celebrate the Wins

Want to achieve your lofty company goals? Celebrate the small victories. Realize that big goals aren’t going to happen overnight. If you fail to celebrate the more modest accomplishments, you’ll diminish the motivation you need to stay on the right path. Again, we rely on tools like 15/5 and Slack to “High Five” one another on a weekly basis. But we’ve also cultivated a company culture where leadership acknowledges, calls out, and celebrates wins throughout the organization on a weekly and monthly basis.

Our CEO highlights these accomplishments in a weekly brief; individual organizations do so in monthly “release notes.” This creates connections between departments and helps employees stay focused on our larger mission.

Allow People to Pursue Passion Projects

At many companies, your yearly goals are your only goals. Any work that strays from that goal can be viewed in a negative light, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Side projects can be a useful outlet for creative energy and allow employees to explore new tools and ideas. They may be projects that are done outside of the office or could look like allowing employees to explore a concept during work time. At HealthJoy, our employees have amazing interests that we celebrate. During our time of fully remote work last year, we started a voluntary lunch and learn series that encouraged employees to share interests outside of work. In short, we love giving employees a way to share their interests with coworkers, and doing so increases engagement and morale.

Volunteer

Volunteering builds teams and increases collaboration. Your employees likely want to give back to their communities: One-quarter of Americans already give their time to charitable causes; those between 35 and 44 are most likely to volunteer. Volunteering may also help employees connect to a larger mission and build relationships, collaboration, and teamwork skills with coworkers. And, of course, they’ll do it all while improving their neighborhoods. In terms of employee morale boosters, we’ve found that volunteering truly takes the cake.

Get Rid of a Jerk

Achieving high morale is nearly impossible with a toxic employee in the workplace. They decrease the productivity of others, demotivate other employees, and may even put your business at risk. Sometimes this behavior can be fixed by helping the individual understand the issues and taking steps to remedy the situation. If the problems continue, sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and get rid of them. It’s an overlooked aspect of helping your employees feel supported at work: getting rid of a bad apple will instantly improve employee morale.

Vacation Days

After a year of extreme stress, fear, and anxiety, employees are facing burnout like never before. Employers are seeing this play out in low morale despite widespread reopenings around the U.S. — and many are responding by increasing vacation days, paid time off, and child or elder-care benefits.

If you see a decrease in morale or engagement, it may be worth examining your employees’ use of paid time off (PTO) or your own policies. Studies have shown that taking a vacation reduces stress, increases immune function, and increases productivity. People are also more creative after a holiday. Adding a generous vacation policy and encouraging people to use them is a great way to boost employee morale. At HealthJoy, we offer unlimited PTO, but we’ve also encouraged employees to take mental health days, reworked our request policy to ensure we’re accurately tracking employee time off, and as always, kept an eye on how this impacts morale.

Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

If you’ve shifted to remote work over the last year, promoting a healthy lifestyle can seem difficult. While seen positive effects from the addition of treadmill and bike desks to our Chicago office, those tools quickly became obsolete during the pandemic. So our HR team pivoted and has since run two successful, fully remote wellness challenges for employees. In addition to rewarding employees who engage in healthy behaviors, we’ve hosted online yoga and meditation classes during the workday and offered every employee a wellness stipend they can use for any form of self-care.

We found that this flexibility helped employees explore wellness in a way that best fits their lifestyle. Ultimately, it’s about providing options that help employees feel encouraged and supported. See our post “How to Plan a Wellness Initiative for Remote Employees” for more ideas.

Track the Pulse of Employee Morale

It takes constant work to maintain a dynamic company culture. Even small decisions can have unintended consequences for your employee morale. The only way to make sure you’re headed in the right direction is to track and continuously work on keeping positivity up. That’s more true now than ever!

[gravityforms id=12]
<script type="text/javascript">if(!gform){document.addEventListener("gform_main_scripts_loaded",function(){gform.scriptsLoaded=!0}),window.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded",function(){gform.domLoaded=!0});var gform={domLoaded:!1,scriptsLoaded:!1,initializeOnLoaded:function(o){gform.domLoaded&&gform.scriptsLoaded?o():!gform.domLoaded&&gform.scriptsLoaded?window.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded",o):document.addEventListener("gform_main_scripts_loaded",o)},hooks:{action:{},filter:{}},addAction:function(o,n,r,t){gform.addHook("action",o,n,r,t)},addFilter:function(o,n,r,t){gform.addHook("filter",o,n,r,t)},doAction:function(o){gform.doHook("action",o,arguments)},applyFilters:function(o){return gform.doHook("filter",o,arguments)},removeAction:function(o,n){gform.removeHook("action",o,n)},removeFilter:function(o,n,r){gform.removeHook("filter",o,n,r)},addHook:function(o,n,r,t,i){null==gform.hooks[o][n]&&(gform.hooks[o][n]=[]);var e=gform.hooks[o][n];null==i&&(i=n+"_"+e.length),null==t&&(t=10),gform.hooks[o][n].push({tag:i,callable:r,priority:t})},doHook:function(o,n,r){if(r=Array.prototype.slice.call(r,1),null!=gform.hooks[o][n]){var t,i=gform.hooks[o][n];i.sort(function(o,n){return o.priority-n.priority});for(var e=0;e<i.length;e++)"function"!=typeof(t=i[e].callable)&&(t=window[t]),"action"==o?t.apply(null,r):r[0]=t.apply(null,r)}if("filter"==o)return r[0]},removeHook:function(o,n,r,t){if(null!=gform.hooks[o][n])for(var i=gform.hooks[o][n],e=i.length-1;0<=e;e--)null!=t&&t!=i[e].tag||null!=r&&r!=i[e].priority||i.splice(e,1)}}}</script> <div class='gf_browser_unknown gform_wrapper gform_legacy_markup_wrapper' id='gform_wrapper_12' > <div class='gform_heading'> <h3 class="gform_title">2021 HealthJoy Employee Benefits Insights eBook</h3> <span class='gform_description'>Testing form</span> </div><form method='post' enctype='multipart/form-data' id='gform_12' action='/blog/2021/07/' > <div class='gform_body gform-body'><ul id='gform_fields_12' class='gform_fields top_label form_sublabel_below description_below'><li id="field_12_8" class="gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_12_8' >First Name<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_8' id='input_12_8' type='text' value='' class='large' placeholder='First Name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id="field_12_9" class="gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_12_9' >Last Name<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_9' id='input_12_9' type='text' value='' class='large' placeholder='Last Name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id="field_12_4" class="gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_12_4' >Email<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_email'> <input name='input_4' id='input_12_4' type='text' value='' class='large' placeholder='Email' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id="field_12_5" class="gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_12_5' >company name<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_5' id='input_12_5' type='text' value='' class='large' placeholder='Company name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id="field_12_6" class="gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_12_6' >Company Size<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_select'><select name='input_6' id='input_12_6' class='large gfield_select' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" ><option value='' selected='selected' class='gf_placeholder'>Company Size</option><option value='1-100' >1-100</option><option value='100-500' >100-500</option><option value='500-3000' >500-3000</option><option value='3000-1000' >3000-1000</option><option value='10000+' >10000+</option></select></div></li><li id="field_12_7" class="gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_12_7' >Which Best Describes You?<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_select'><select name='input_7' id='input_12_7' class='large gfield_select' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" ><option value='' selected='selected' class='gf_placeholder'>Which Best Describes You?</option><option value='Employer' >Employer</option><option value='Benefit Consultant' >Benefit Consultant</option><option value='TPA' >TPA</option><option value='PEO' >PEO</option><option value='Other' >Other</option></select></div></li></ul></div> <div class='gform_footer top_label'> <input type='submit' id='gform_submit_button_12' class='gform_button button' value='Get Your eBook' onclick='if(window["gf_submitting_12"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_12"]=true; ' onkeypress='if( event.keyCode == 13 ){ if(window["gf_submitting_12"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_12"]=true; jQuery("#gform_12").trigger("submit",[true]); }' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='is_submit_12' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_submit' value='12' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_unique_id' value='' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='state_12' value='WyJbXSIsImFkODg5MTk3ZmY1MDIyZGVjZjEyNWI2ODk1Y2YyMGZiIl0=' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_target_page_number_12' id='gform_target_page_number_12' value='0' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_source_page_number_12' id='gform_source_page_number_12' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_field_values' value='' /> </div> </form> </div>
[gravityforms id=1]
<div class='gf_browser_unknown gform_wrapper gform_legacy_markup_wrapper' id='gform_wrapper_1' > <div class='gform_heading'> <h3 class="gform_title">State of the Benefits Survey eBook - 1-Col</h3> <span class='gform_description'>Testing form</span> </div><form method='post' enctype='multipart/form-data' id='gform_1' action='/blog/2021/07/' > <div class='gform_body gform-body'><ul id='gform_fields_1' class='gform_fields top_label form_sublabel_below description_below'><li id="field_1_8" class="gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_1_8' >First Name<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_8' id='input_1_8' type='text' value='' class='large' placeholder='First Name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id="field_1_9" class="gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_1_9' >Last Name<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_9' id='input_1_9' type='text' value='' class='large' placeholder='Last Name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id="field_1_4" class="gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_1_4' >Email<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_email'> <input name='input_4' id='input_1_4' type='text' value='' class='large' placeholder='Email' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id="field_1_5" class="gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_1_5' >company name<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_5' id='input_1_5' type='text' value='' class='large' placeholder='Company name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id="field_1_10" class="gfield gfield--width-full field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_1_10' >State</label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_select'><select name='input_10' id='input_1_10' class='large gfield_select' aria-invalid="false" ><option value='' selected='selected' class='gf_placeholder'>State</option><option value='Alabama' >Alabama</option><option value='Alaska' >Alaska</option><option value='Arizona' >Arizona</option><option value='Arkansas' >Arkansas</option><option value='California' >California</option><option value='Colorado' >Colorado</option><option value='Connecticut' >Connecticut</option><option value='Delaware' >Delaware</option><option value='District of Columbia' >District of Columbia</option><option value='Florida' >Florida</option><option value='Georgia' >Georgia</option><option value='Hawaii' >Hawaii</option><option value='Idaho' >Idaho</option><option value='Illinois' >Illinois</option><option value='Indiana' >Indiana</option><option value='Iowa' >Iowa</option><option value='Kansas' >Kansas</option><option value='Kentucky' >Kentucky</option><option value='Louisiana' >Louisiana</option><option value='Maine' >Maine</option><option value='Maryland' >Maryland</option><option value='Massachusetts' >Massachusetts</option><option value='Michigan' >Michigan</option><option value='Minnesota' >Minnesota</option><option value='Mississippi' >Mississippi</option><option value='Missouri' >Missouri</option><option value='Montana' >Montana</option><option value='Nebraska' >Nebraska</option><option value='Nevada' >Nevada</option><option value='New Hampshire' >New Hampshire</option><option value='New Jersey' >New Jersey</option><option value='New Mexico' >New Mexico</option><option value='New York' >New York</option><option value='North Carolina' >North Carolina</option><option value='North Dakota' >North Dakota</option><option value='Ohio' >Ohio</option><option value='Oklahoma' >Oklahoma</option><option value='Oregon' >Oregon</option><option value='Pennsylvania' >Pennsylvania</option><option value='Rhode Island' >Rhode Island</option><option value='South Carolina' >South Carolina</option><option value='South Dakota' >South Dakota</option><option value='Tennessee' >Tennessee</option><option value='Texas' >Texas</option><option value='Utah' >Utah</option><option value='Vermont' >Vermont</option><option value='Virginia' >Virginia</option><option value='Washington' >Washington</option><option value='West Virginia' >West Virginia</option><option value='Wisconsin' >Wisconsin</option><option value='Wyoming' >Wyoming</option></select></div></li><li id="field_1_7" class="gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_1_7' >Which Best Describes You?<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_select'><select name='input_7' id='input_1_7' class='large gfield_select' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" ><option value='' selected='selected' class='gf_placeholder'>Which Best Describes You?</option><option value='Employer' >Employer</option><option value='Benefit Consultant' >Benefit Consultant</option><option value='TPA' >TPA</option><option value='PEO' >PEO</option><option value='Other' >Other</option></select></div></li></ul></div> <div class='gform_footer top_label'> <input type='submit' id='gform_submit_button_1' class='gform_button button' value='Get Your eBook' onclick='if(window["gf_submitting_1"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_1"]=true; ' onkeypress='if( event.keyCode == 13 ){ if(window["gf_submitting_1"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_1"]=true; jQuery("#gform_1").trigger("submit",[true]); }' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='is_submit_1' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_submit' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_unique_id' value='' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='state_1' value='WyJbXSIsImFkODg5MTk3ZmY1MDIyZGVjZjEyNWI2ODk1Y2YyMGZiIl0=' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_target_page_number_1' id='gform_target_page_number_1' value='0' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_source_page_number_1' id='gform_source_page_number_1' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_field_values' value='' /> </div> </form> </div>
[gravityforms id=9]
<div class='gf_browser_unknown gform_wrapper gform_legacy_markup_wrapper' id='gform_wrapper_9' > <div class='gform_heading'> <h3 class="gform_title">10 Benefits Presentation Tips from TED Talks eBook - 2-Col (Pop-up)</h3> <span class='gform_description'></span> </div><form method='post' enctype='multipart/form-data' id='gform_9' action='/blog/2021/07/' > <div class='gform_body gform-body'><ul id='gform_fields_9' class='gform_fields top_label form_sublabel_below description_below'><li id="field_9_8" class="gfield gf_left_half gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_9_8' >First Name<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_8' id='input_9_8' type='text' value='' class='large' placeholder='First Name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id="field_9_9" class="gfield gf_right_half gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_9_9' >Last Name<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_9' id='input_9_9' type='text' value='' class='medium' placeholder='Last Name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id="field_9_4" class="gfield gf_left_half gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_9_4' >Email<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_email'> <input name='input_4' id='input_9_4' type='text' value='' class='medium' placeholder='Email' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id="field_9_5" class="gfield gf_right_half gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_9_5' >Company name<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_5' id='input_9_5' type='text' value='' class='medium' placeholder='Company name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id="field_9_10" class="gfield gf_left_half gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_9_10' >Company Size<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_select'><select name='input_10' id='input_9_10' class='large gfield_select' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" ><option value='' selected='selected' class='gf_placeholder'>Company Size</option><option value='1-100' >1-100</option><option value='100-500' >100-500</option><option value='500-3000' >500-3000</option><option value='3000-1000' >3000-1000</option><option value='10000+' >10000+</option></select></div></li><li id="field_9_7" class="gfield gf_right_half gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_9_7' >What Describes You?<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_select'><select name='input_7' id='input_9_7' class='large gfield_select' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" ><option value='' selected='selected' class='gf_placeholder'>What Describes You?</option><option value='Employer' >Employer</option><option value='Benefit Consultant' >Benefit Consultant</option><option value='TPA' >TPA</option><option value='PEO' >PEO</option><option value='Other' >Other</option></select></div></li></ul></div> <div class='gform_footer top_label'> <input type='submit' id='gform_submit_button_9' class='gform_button button' value='Get Your eBook' onclick='if(window["gf_submitting_9"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_9"]=true; ' onkeypress='if( event.keyCode == 13 ){ if(window["gf_submitting_9"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_9"]=true; jQuery("#gform_9").trigger("submit",[true]); }' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='is_submit_9' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_submit' value='9' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_unique_id' value='' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='state_9' value='WyJbXSIsImFkODg5MTk3ZmY1MDIyZGVjZjEyNWI2ODk1Y2YyMGZiIl0=' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_target_page_number_9' id='gform_target_page_number_9' value='0' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_source_page_number_9' id='gform_source_page_number_9' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_field_values' value='' /> </div> </form> </div>