What better day than National Employee Benefits Day to communicate a simple truth: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink in the beauty of your office e-mail “How Staying Hydrated Can Improve Work Performance.”

It’s not just equines, either. In a recent survey from the International Foundation, 80% of plan sponsors said their employees are not reading communication materials.

In the world of benefits communication, sometimes you have to laugh so you don’t cry. Besides, handwringing and hairpulling are for amateurs. Benefits pros are in deeper than that. Way deeper. How deep? We’re glad you asked. Read the tongue-in-cheek list below to see where you stand.

10 Signs You’re a Benefits Communication Champ

Top Ten Ways You Know You’re Deep Into the Benefits Communication Game

  1. When people ask for your thoughts on how the universe began, you always say, “With an eye-catching subject line. If you don’t start with a big bang, nobody will bother with the rest.”
  2. If you were marooned on a desert island, your first order of business would be asking the palm tree if it had time for a quick feedback survey.
  3. Your biggest fear in an alien invasion is finding out the intergalactic conqueror didn’t read your brochure “Ten Things to Avoid Saying When Taking Over the Planet.”
  4. You refer to your children as “my targeted segments.”
  5. When ordering a drink, you insist on bartenders making a “Clarity Navel” since anything “fuzzy” must be replaced with clear, concise language that can be understood by the average bar-going participant.
  6. You have two tattoos: One is a Japanese symbol for “Important benefits information. Your response is requested.” The other is a red exclamation mark.
  7. Your dating profile says “Looking for someone who won’t ask a question that was answered in the companywide e-mail I sent two hours ago.”
  8. You have 200 scripts ready to go in case a producer green-lights your television spinoff “CSI: CSO,” in which a ragtag team of chief security officers communicate corporate policy regarding personal health information. And here’s the hook: There are no cliff-hangers, and this team always plays by the rules.
  9. You’re fine with relationships that end without closure. But if you don’t get proper disclosure, look out!
  10. Your favorite knock-knock joke is “Knock-knock.” “Who’s there?” “Missing plan participant.” “Missing plan participant wh . . .” “IF I KNEW WHO, I WOULDN’T BE KNOCKING DOOR TO DOOR!”

It may be a struggle to get your benefits communication messages read, but we’ll happily read what you have to say! Please communicate how you plan to celebrate National Employee Benefits Day in the comments below, on Twitter with #NEBD or on Facebook


Robbie Hartman
Editor, Publications for the International Foundation

Robbie Hartman, CEBS

Favorite member service: Face-to-face conferences—For the education, the speakers, the networking, the buzz of excitement, the buzz from the coffee stations and a buzz-illion other reasons, it’s hard to top our conferences. Favorite conference moment: Book signings with Captain Mike Abrashoff and attitude provocateur Alvin Law. It’s reaffirming to watch people command the stage and then earn even greater respect with the way they take time to interact and connect with individual audience members at book signings. Favorite benefits topics: Wellness, communication, work/life balance. Personal insight: Robbie values time with family and friends. Traveling to a new region is a bonus, but skipping rocks in the neighborhood creek will also do just nicely. He may be many things, and has been called most of them, but he is not a sitter and will gladly find a reason to get up from his desk.

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