Why Human Resources Departments Should Consider Text Messaging

Employee Benefits can be complicated, but it’s essential that they’re understood. It’s why human resources departments are always on the lookout for new forms of communications—for benefits to be chosen and implemented successfully, employees need to know the ins and outs of their offered healthcare plans and retirement options.

Text messages allow HR departments to remind employees of critical dates during Open Enrollment, send links to mobile-friendly benefits messages and even answer simple questions through text bot.

So, how do you effectively communicate benefits and policies to employees during key periods like new hire orientation or open enrollment? Companies are already using email and other traditional means of communications, and now many are implementing text messages to connect with employees.

Text vs. Email

The problem with email is the sheer amount that most employees receive. On busy days people are left triaging what emails are most important—those that need to be read and answered immediately—and the ones that can take a backseat to more pressing matters.

Because of the nature of HR communications, many employees will filter these mass emails to the latter category, waiting for a free moment to catch up and skim what could be vital information.

Texting may be the way to break through to busy employees who feel overloaded with emails.

People are seven times more likely to respond to a text than an email and they do so 60 times faster than an average email*. On top of that, texts have a 98 percent read rate and 90 percent of people read a text within 15 minutes of receiving it.**

Texting is fast. Texting is effective. Texting gets the message across.

Open Enrollment Communications

Open Enrollment is when HR communications are most necessary. Even if there aren’t any changes to offered benefits, it is the time when employees need the most up-to-date information to make healthcare and benefits decisions for the year.

Text messages allow HR departments to remind employees of critical dates during Open Enrollment, send links to mobile-friendly benefits messages and even answer simple questions through text bot. These messages won’t get lost in a cluttered email inbox.

Internal Communications and Surveys

Open Enrollment isn’t the only time to implement text message communications. Many organizations are using mobile surveys to gauge organizational health and doing so by texting unique links to employees. Messages can even be used to send event invites (useful around holiday time) or reminders to submit timesheets or direct deposit information.

When to Use Text

Mass texts—sent to everyone in your organization—are best for situations such as informing employees of enrollment dates. Personalized texts work best for situations where a person or small group need information unique to them, such as new hires going through orientation and onboarding.

Both mass and personalized texts should provide valuable information for employees, messages that shouldn’t languish in an email inbox. Texting is still seen as a more personal, essential form of communication. In other words, use texting for high priority messaging to keep employees engaged.

Internal text communication is still a recent phenomenon, one that is slowly making its way into more and more organizations. While it’s certainly not a traditional approach to reaching your employees, its value is especially high for Millennials and Gen Z. As workplaces shift to a large percentage of younger employees, texting could prove highly effective at disseminating HR messages.

If you have any questions about benefits communications, contact us today.

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