Jennifer Benz

Jennifer Benz is Chief Strategist and Founder of Benz Communications, a San Francisco-based consultancy that focuses on custom, comprehensive benefits and HR communications services. Jen is an active member of the Council for Communication Management, the International Association of Business Communicators, the Northern California Human Resources Association and Women in Consulting. Contact her at jen@benzcommunications.com.

Articles by Jennifer Benz

Benefits, HR News & Trends

What to Tell Employees About Health Care Reform: Tips For Enrollment

Illustration by istockphoto.com

Last of three parts

What’s left to say during enrollment if you told your employees everything else about the Affordable Care Act (see part 1 and part 2 of this series here) over the summer?

Plenty! Enrollment shouldn’t be the first time employees hear about health care reform — if you plan for that, the media and advertisers will beat you to the punch.

Let enrollment reinforce the messages from the summer, add more detail in key areas and focus on your benefit choices for 2014. You’ll still have plenty say: Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

What to Tell Employees About Health Care Reform: Must-Do’s This Summer

Illustration by istockphoto.com

Second of three parts

Yes, you need to get your health care reform communication out this summer.

That will get you ahead of the consumer marketing and state-led exchange education.

Plus, it will give you time to tell your employees what is important in small bits — not all at once.

This is what you want to cover: Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

What to Tell Employees About Health Care Reform: Where You Should Start

Illustration by istockphoto.com

First of three parts 

It has been more than three years since we first told you what to tell employees about health care reform.

We’ve gone on a roller-coaster ride since then, but the Affordable Care Act is moving full-steam ahead and 2014 is a big year for benefits. We’ve said from the beginning that we can use this as a strategic opportunity to get employees and their families engaged. This is your year to do just that!

Here’s our guidance on what you should say, how to say it, and when. And grab a cup of coffee, because we all have a lot to do! Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Finally – Labor Dept. Sets Deadline to Tell Employees About State Exchanges

Health Care Reform

The U.S. Department of Labor just cleared up a piece of the ambiguity lurking in your health care reform communication strategy!

You may remember that the DOL delayed the original deadline to send employees notification of the state exchanges. Well, the timing is now set: By October 1, 2013, you must tell all your employees about the state health care exchanges.

They’ve crafted a model notice to work from. All the details are here. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

A Health Care Media Onslaught Is Coming, But Will You Be Ready For It?

healthcarereform

Have you noticed an uptick in stories on health care?

The ugly “U.S.-pays-way-more-than-any-other-country-for-health-care” graphics we used to see only in boardrooms are making it into the newspapers. And the “health-care-is-still-broken” stories and the “don’t-get-left-behind Obamacare-101″ pieces keep coming.

The surge of information in the mass media is only just beginning.

The state exchanges are scheduled to open October 1 of this year. That means your employees (and the rest of America) will start hearing more and more about them — especially over the summer. Read more…

Benefits, HR Management

3 Ways to Help Employees With Their Physical and Financial Wellness

workplacewellness

Your workplace wellness campaign may be missing a huge opportunity. And it’s all because of how you define the word “wellness.”

Or rather, how you don’t define it.

Employers use “wellness” in their communication as their go-to term for physical health. There’s nothing wrong with that. But for your employees and their families, a healthy life is about much more than a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI).

Good health means not stressing about bills or retirement and having enough money to enjoy the weekends with the kids. Your campaign should address the whole person. Read more…

Benefits, HR Management

4 Ways to Make Your Benefits Communications Plans Successful

Maximizing benefits

You may remember from our Inside Benefits Communication Survey that only 22 percent of employers reported that they currently document their communications strategy.

It’s a crucial step in connecting benefits communication with overall benefits program and business goals. No matter what direction you intend to take your benefits this year, you must start with a plan.

Here are four steps you can take in order to make your benefits communications plans succeed: Read more…

Benefits, HR Management

3 Reasons Why 2013 Will Be THE Year for Benefits Communications

Maximizing benefits

Benefits communication rarely gets the credit — or attention, or budget, or planning — it deserves.

Despite well-documented empirical evidence of its impact and big-name thought leaders advocating for more meaningful investment in communication, it usually gets the short end of the stick.

I’ve spent my career fighting for better budgets, more time spent on strategic planning and better integration with overall goals. For clients, we’ve changed the dynamic, and communication is a now a key part of their overall HR strategy. But for most benefits communication pros, fighting that battle is a right of passage that seems to never end. Read more…

Benefits, HR Basics

Did Your Open Enrollment Results Match Your Health Care Strategy?

Illustration by Dreamstime

Now that open enrollment is over, it’s time to look at its results.

Your results will be key in helping you shape your strategy for the coming year. Take a look, in particular, at how your enrollment results line up with your overall health care reform strategy.

Here are four ways you can analyze results in the context of health care reform: Read more…

Benefits, HR Basics

3 Reasons to Keep Communicating AFTER Open Enrollment Ends

open_enrollment

During annual open enrollment, your employees are reading and hearing a lot about the importance of using their medical plans, participating in wellness programs, and staying ahead of illness.

And then open enrollment ends. Cue the chirping crickets.

Whether it’s fatigue, or just habit, too many employers stop communicating once enrollment is over. This, unfortunately, can be a momentum killer. Read more…