Fertility benefits can help lower healthcare costs, improve outcomes, and boost employee retention — but only if employees are aware of them and know how to use them. In our Fertility at Work survey, 30% of employees with fertility benefits said they were unsure of who was covered. And employee benefits can be confusing in general: 35% of employees report not fully understanding any of the employee benefits they signed up for during their most recent open enrollment period.
Open enrollment is the perfect opportunity to share clear, direct information about your fertility benefits while your employees are most likely to think about signing up. Using marketing tactics, writing in clear language, and showing buy-in from leadership can all help employees understand and use their fertility benefits when they need them.
5 tips for communicating fertility benefits during open enrollment
1. Borrow techniques from your marketing team
Traditional benefits booklets can be dense and confusing — and probably end up buried in a pile on your employees’ desks. Borrowing a few tips and tricks from your marketing team can help diversify your approach and reach employees where they are. For example, one marketing principle to consider is the rule of seven, which says that people typically need to see something seven times before they take action. A multi-channel communications plan for remote workers could include an email blast, a mention in a longer newsletter, a few messages on Slack, inclusion on your intranet, a video presentation, and a home mailer — a useful option for a personal topic like fertility and family forming. An in-person program could include flyers in your breakroom and a benefits fair in addition to digital communications.
Whatever you create, make your communication simple and easy to understand for employees. Most communications experts recommend writing at a 5th-grade level whenever possible to make your materials scannable and easy to understand. If you’re curious about the reading level of your materials, try the Hemingway App. It provides a breakdown of your content’s reading level and suggestions on how to simplify your language. Often, your benefits vendors can help out with these materials, so don’t hesitate to ask for support!
2. Clarify what your fertility benefits cover
Employees may have preconceived notions about what is — and is not — included in your fertility benefits. Even the term “fertility” may lead employees to assume that family-forming services like adoption aren’t covered. But more inclusive fertility benefits offer several options beyond in vitro fertilization (IVF) and egg freezing. At Carrot, members have access to fertility testing, education, preservation, IVF, donor-assisted reproduction, support for gestational carrier journeys (commonly known as surrogacy), adoption, and pregnancy. When sharing benefits communications, call out the high-level services your program includes. Design choices such as bolding, bullet points, and graphics can all help make it easy to tell at a glance what your program includes.
If employees have more specific questions, your vendor can help. For example, Carrot hosts webinars for members on topics like LGBTQ+ family forming, fertility preservation, and finding mental health resources. We also provide our customers with open enrollment materials and benefits guides specific to their company’s needs.
When creating your materials, try to anticipate questions your employees may have about the financial side of their benefits, as well. Fertility benefits typically have a tax component, so make sure information on the details around taxation is easy to find and understand in your intranet or your fertility benefits guide.
3. Ensure employees understand who can access fertility benefits
Another common misconception may be that fertility benefits are primarily for women. If you have an inclusive benefit like Carrot, it’s important to make it known that the program is open to all employees regardless of sex, gender, or relationship status. Because traditional insurance typically only kicks in when someone has an infertility diagnosis, make it clear that employees don’t need an infertility diagnosis to take part. Finally, make sure to include information on whether or not your program covers domestic partners and spouses.
4. Get your employee resource groups involved
Employee resource groups (ERGs) are another helpful resource for spreading the word about your fertility and family-forming benefits. Reach out to ERG leaders with slides or other information about your fertility benefits, and connect back with them to hear feedback and any questions they receive from their members. If the request for fertility and family-forming benefits started with an ERG, make sure those in the group are aware of the new benefit — it can help to close the loop and show employees that you’re listening.
5. Show why fertility benefits matter to your company
Employees rarely discuss fertility and family-forming topics while at work on a typical day: 76% of people have never heard leadership at their company use terms such as infertility, IVF, or miscarriage. This stigma can make it less likely that an employee may ask questions about their fertility benefits or sign up to learn more. Hearing about fertility and family forming from the top can help.
“Any time we roll out any kind of benefit, including fertility benefits, we always make a playbook for our leaders,” said Angie Marin, Manager, Global Benefits & Wellness at Alteryx. “When it’s coming from their mouths, it’s easier for people to talk about these things, ask more questions, or be interested in that particular benefit.”
Make open enrollment count
Employees with fertility benefits are more likely to stay with their companies. In fact, 97% of Carrot members say they’re more likely to stay with their company because of Carrot. In order for employees to use and appreciate their fertility benefit, however, they need to understand how it works. Open enrollment is the busiest time of the year for most HR professionals, but taking the time to develop a thoughtful communications plan for your benefits can lay important groundwork for employee registration and access. When your employees understand what fertility benefits include, how they may be eligible, and the support they can count on, they’re more likely to sign up for — and benefit from — your program.
Want to learn more about bringing inclusive fertility and family-forming benefits to your employees? Get in touch with us.