It seems like we’ve been talking or hearing about Millennials for most of my career.  Millennials are now in their 20’s and 30’s.  It is estimated they will comprise 30% of the workforce by 2020, and many are entering management roles.

Once characteristic touted as “millennial” is they perceive themselves invincible, although that has always been a characteristic of youth.   Other millennial characteristics include different communication styles and techniques.  These together spell disaster for employee benefit participation.   Here are 6 tips to better communicating the benefits of…well, …benefits.

  1. Face-to-face meetings are uncomfortable.  Millennials prefer mobile, 24/7 communications.  If you must have benefits presentations, consider an online version, or a hashtag during the meeting to tweet about it—they will be looking at their phones during the meeting anyway.
  2. Millennials want to be heard and have two-way conversations to communicate their needs. Perhaps a social post or email asking for input when selecting benefit plans would engage them.
  3. Stories, anecdotes, and playfulness are meaningful. Millennials also respond to passion and excitement.  They want the truth.  So, find real-life examples of how benefits are used, helpful, and how they made a difference.  Millennials are generally optimistic, so stay away from horror stories.  Select anecdotes they can relate to.
  4. Short and to-the-point is key. Don’t get wordy.  It’s OK to use abbreviations–they live in an LOL world.  However, Millennials also want detailed instructions.  Tell them what they need to do to sign up for benefits, how to select providers, etc.  Perhaps we can create “FOF” (fill out forms!)
  5. Newer = Better. With 24/7 mobile communications in their wheelhouse, millennials will respond to telemedicine, online wellness programs, online access to 401(k) plans, and other valuable benefits.
  6. Millennials are optimistic and concerned about the greater good, and success for everyone. Let them know the upside to greater participation among the plans.  A younger, healthier population in the health plans will help keep the rates affordable for all employees.  Wellness programs will increase productivity with less days missed at work, etc.  401(k) plans will help safeguard their future.

Communication is key for all employees to participate in employee benefits, but knowing your audience is the key to good communication.  Incorporate some millennial methods into your communication and see the benefits.