Achieving Message Consistency for a Diverse and Dispersed Workforce.

A leading supplier of advanced automotive technology, systems, and components for major automakers, DENSO is a Japanese company with North American headquarters in Southfield, MI. Over half of their 17,000 US employees—representing 7 affiliate companies and over 20 locations—work in manufacturing environments and don’t regularly interact with computers, making it challenging for HR to effectively communicate benefits information to eligible employees and meet plan participation goals.

DENSO’s Benefits Team Brandy Cooper and Chonna Neal changed their communication approach as their open enrollment season approached in the fall of 2017. “Aside from aligning our messaging across locations and job sites,” explains Cooper, “we needed to increase adoption of our programs, especially for the tax-advantaged accounts.” What’s more, Neal adds, “Our local HR specialists were fielding a lot of questions from confused employees during OE, so we updated our communications to help our workforce fully understand their benefits and how to use them. We provided self-service materials and tools that employees could turn to when questions come up.”

Taking Communications from Expensive and Bulky to Interesting and Memorable

Cooper says that in the past, her team mailed very lengthy and detailed printed materials to employee homes prior to open enrollment—a method that was not only expensive and bulky but increasingly ineffective. “Honestly,” she admits, “at the end of a long day, who wants to open the mail and read a 20-page benefits guide?” And when it comes to healthcare, she asserts, “We want our associates to be smart consumers. When they save money, we save money. It’s a win-win!” She and Neal knew that in order to increase engagement and participation, they needed to simplify and shorten communications—and deliver them over time—to make them interesting and memorable.

Using GuideSpark Communicate Cloud, DENSO launched a new streamlined, fully-branded open enrollment campaign during the fall of 2017.

They started with an “OE is coming soon” teaser email and followed with more in-depth—yet short and engaging—content focused on DENSO’s benefit programs and key deadline dates, all with prominent calls-to-action reinforced through the duration of the campaign.

They communicated weekly, using several channels including a benefits announcement newsletter, postcards, emails, a benefits website, and in-person meetings. “Our employees have different preferences in how they receive information,” notes Neal, “and by broadening our communication channels and including multiple touchpoints, we were sure to reach as many of them as possible.”

At each step in the campaign, employees could dig deeper into topics of interest or click to enroll when ready. And since paper materials featured mobile-friendly QR codes, it was easier than ever to reach non-desk employees with digital content.

Getting Closer to Meeting Big Picture Goals

DENSO’s campaign results revealed that both employees and leadership found the value in communicating over time across multiple channels. Aside from receiving great feedback, including several thank-you emails lauding the new approach, Cooper and Neal were thrilled to discover that in their first year of taking a campaign-based communications approach, 6 times as many employees engaged with benefits information than in past years.

“These results are meaningful because we’re getting closer to meeting our big-picture goals,” reports Neal. “As our employees learn more about our benefits and increase their knowledge to become smart healthcare consumers, the company benefits as well.” DENSO’s experience was so game-changing that they plan to use the same communications approach to educate managers and engage with new hires.

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