Hold your questions until the end, please.

You know what we can’t stand about a text message announcement? You cannot respond with a question. The same goes for an email. Sometimes the info is timely and useful, but what if you have a follow-up question or require a point of clarification?

Those forms of communication may work well for quick reminders (think “Don’t forget to enroll” or “Three more days until open enrollment closes”), but what about the big stuff? We’re talking more complicated or nuanced items like changes in cost sharing, a new type of plan, or updated eligibility rules.

Do you really expect the majority of employees to fully comprehend what might generally be considered a complex topic by reading a series of emails with links to pages on the company intranet? In this age of digital overload, and with millennials making up the largest segment of the workplace, it’s easy to find ourselves seduced by what’s new, quick, and easy. But perhaps, all that glitters isn’t gold. 

Don’t get us wrong, we love apps, email, and all things digital as much as anyone. However, a more traditional approach might prove more effective under certain circumstances. Yes, we’re suggesting old school, face-to-face employee meetings.

We recently hosted a large group of employers for a daylong roundtable where many participants mentioned the value of employee interactions that occur in real life (or “IRL” as the kids say). One of our guest speakers cited the importance of such gatherings as a best practice when rolling out a new initiative. Even if you don’t have the right staff or your workforce is geographically dispersed, deploying a train-the-trainer model can help put a team of empathetic experts in place throughout your organization.

As we approach another open enrollment season and look to educate employees on a continually evolving benefits landscape, don’t underestimate the potential impact of good old face-to-face communication. In this case, the old way just might be the best way. Because, after all, at least at the end of a meeting, employees can raise their hands and ask questions.