EBN’s annual i-COMM Awards recognize the best in internal communication of benefits. In this four-part series, we highlight this year’s winners, including Robins & Morton, winner of Best Intranet/Employee Portal.

Togetherness was the overriding theme of a deft communications campaign aimed in part at helping 1,252 employees at Robins & Morton, a construction and engineering firm, understand how the ACA might affect their benefits.

The phrase “Together Strong” served as a rallying cry around the need for solidarity, shared responsibility and robust health. A key strategy was to demystify health benefits, empower employees to take control of their health and engage spouses in the enrollment process through direct mail, mindful that women serve as the gatekeeper in health-related

Also see: Takeda Pharmaceuticals promotes value of benefits, reduces enrollment confusion

To help simplify the process of vetting benefit options, care advocates helped employees model various plan options against their personal health insurance needs and feel more comfortable customizing choices for their families. A user-friendly microsite served as a central hub for collecting information and hosting videos. Other communication tactics included e-blasts, posters, conferences and lunch-and-learns.

The results have exceeded expectations. For example, every salaried employee, and twice as many craft employees as the previous year, were found to have taken an active role in their benefits selection. In addition, 32% of eligible employees were enrolled in a brand new health savings account — surpassing the 25% goal.

The campaign won over the most skeptical employees, who appreciated the effort to explain a confusing and intimidating topic, while managers and field leadership were pleased to provide a message of pride and confidence.

Aimee Comer, director of HR, and Mark Eckman, director of employee benefits, led the benefits communication campaign with the creative input of a branding firm, Cayenne Creative. “The stakes on this campaign were high,” Comer says. “We had aggressive enrollment goals for our benefits packages, and tight deadlines for accomplishing them.”

Also see: AECOM campaign educates employees on merits of CDHPs

The new microsite was so well received by employees that it’s now being expanded into a functional/responsive website that allows employees to find virtually anything related to benefits in a single, easily accessible and user-friendly site. Comer says it will also include links to all provider login pages and all of the forms for hourly and salaried employees to
fill out.

Bruce Shutan is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer.

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