The healthcare options available to employees can be daunting. For the uninitiated healthcare participant, just the acronyms alone (PCP, HSA, EAP, HRA, and on and on) are enough to scramble one’s brain. Additionally, the notion of onsite healthcare can be an unfamiliar one. Even people who are familiar with the concept of wellness programs sometimes have a challenge making the leap to understanding that they can visit the onsite health center for anything they’d see their doctor for (and more).
Benefits Managers Help Your Employees Better Understand Current Healthcare Issues
While onsite clinicians make face-to-face visits when they can, the benefits managers have their own challenge to reach everyone at the company and waylay every individual concern or answer every question about healthcare options.
Of course, once all the information has been disseminated in various forms, something always changes and the re-education of the workforce starts all over. However, there are a few steps HR managers and internal communicators can take to make sure the sensitive topic of healthcare is understood by all – even without sitting down individually with each employee.
Two Ways to Communicate Health Topics to Everyone
Group meetings can be a convenient alternative to one-on-one meetings with employees to make sure messages are understood and questions are answered. Whether it is the weekly department meeting around a conference table, or a monthly safety meeting at the factory, this is where people come together to get information. While it can be tricky to slip healthcare information into the agenda, keeping the items short, including the only most important topics, and providing a reference for further information will create the biggest impact for a limited amount of time. Securing the buy-in of leadership and the managers who run the regular meetings also makes everything easier.
Managers can be another resource to help spread healthcare information. Not only do they often lead communications that go out to their departments, they have more facetime with individuals and can pass along messages, answer questions, or direct questions to the right source. Additionally, having the visual support of management in healthcare initiatives is one of the strongest messages of support for healthcare services for employees. Spreading Frequently Asked Questions or a bulleted list of points to influential people in the organization is a great way to expand the reach of a stretched communications department.
Employees also need a one-stop resource for all their healthcare questions. Often this is an intranet page or handbook that outlines insurance, benefits, wellness programs, and onsite health center information. This is both the best place and the most daunting place for healthcare information. It’s great because it is the known resource, both for employees and the communicator, but it can also be overwhelming with how much information is involved. It’s important to organize these resources in ways that people can easily navigate. Communicators must challenge themselves to speak the common language in a field that is often too esoteric.
In an area as sensitive as healthcare, small changes can create a big stir among employees. It’s important as a healthcare communicator to have clear channels to address employees’ questions and concerns. During times of change, this immediate presence offers transparency, too, which helps to calm concerns.
Employees are adaptable, but they need to right information at the right time to make changes and be active in their own health and healthcare.