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Spring 2016: Print Media is Dead! Long Live Print Media!

For several years now, observers of the benefits industry have been declaring that print communications were dying, if not already dead. The digital industry would have you believe that electronic and digital media are taking over for- and virtually eliminating- the old standard of print materials. Though that may be coming true for newspapers, it’s not quite the case for employers needing to reach, educate and inform a diverse group of employees about the myriad of options, legal issues, new programs and considerations surrounding their benefits.

While a growing number of workers sit in front of computers or have eyes glued to their smartphones, there remains a significant population who work on production lines, or in field locations where digital access is less practical. In addition, it is often the spouse or partner who needs to get the information and he or she isn’t the one with access to the company portal or receiving those employer emails. And, believe it or not, there are still those without smartphones or computers, or who are “technophobes,” just plain averse to today’s technology! For these employees and their families, the best reach may be through print, for example, brochures, newsletters, postcards or flyers to the home, and posters in common work areas.

And what about employee preferences for how and where they receive benefit information from their employer? A study about employee communication preferences, done by MetLife in 2015, shows results that might surprise you. Overall and regardless of age- Gen Y (age 20-34), Gen X (31-50), Young “Boomers (51-64), Old “Boomers” (65+)- employees preferred to get their information from a benefits handbook (along with 1:1 in-person meetings) over accessing this material via the employer’s website! (Source: MetLife 2015 “U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study”)

HR and benefits leaders, along with brokers and consultants, should make use of a variety of methods and media, including print materials, to effectively communicate benefits information to employees and their families. Email, texts, websites, social media, pc’s, smartphones, tablets are all worthwhile elements of the overall communications strategy. Successful employers are carefully assessing their employees’ communication needs, how and where they spend their work days, who might make benefit decisions and how best to reach any and all of these audiences. Digital media should complement your printed communications program.

At BeneCom, we understand and help you sort out the technical, logistical and practical uses offered with both print and online benefits communications. We help our clients communicate with a comprehensive range of services designed to meet all of your employees’ needs...no matter how they like to get their benefits information!

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