Jennifer Benz

About the Author

Jennifer Benz is Chief Strategist and Founder of Benz Communications, a San Francisco-based consultancy that focuses on custom, comprehensive benefits and HR communications services. Jen is an active member of the Council for Communication Management, the International Association of Business Communicators, the Northern California Human Resources Association and Women in Consulting. Contact her at jen@benzcommunications.com.

Here’s an Early HR Scare: 5 Ways That the IRS 1095 Form Reminds Us of Halloween

Hot on the heels of annual enrollment, employers’ next benefits communication challenge is just around the corner. In a few months, HR will need to send employees the IRS 1095 Form, required under the Affordable Care Act as a way for Americans to show proof of health coverage to the IRS. As we researched…

What to Tell Employees About Health Care Reform: Tips For Enrollment

Last of three parts What’s left to say during enrollment if you told your employees everything else about the Affordable Care Act (see part 1 and part 2 of this series here) over the summer? Plenty! Enrollment shouldn’t be the first time employees hear about health care reform — if you plan for that,…

What to Tell Employees About Health Care Reform: Must-Do’s This Summer

Second of three parts Yes, you need to get your health care reform communication out this summer. That will get you ahead of the consumer marketing and state-led exchange education. Plus, it will give you time to tell your employees what is important in small bits — not all at once. This is…

What to Tell Employees About Health Care Reform: Where You Should Start

First of three parts  It has been more than three years since we first told you what to tell employees about health care reform. We’ve gone on a roller-coaster ride since then, but the Affordable Care Act is moving full-steam ahead and 2014 is a big year for benefits. We’ve said from the…

Finally – Labor Dept. Sets Deadline to Tell Employees About State Exchanges

The U.S. Department of Labor just cleared up a piece of the ambiguity lurking in your health care reform communication strategy! You may remember that the DOL delayed the original deadline to send employees notification of the state exchanges. Well, the timing is now set: By October 1, 2013, you must tell all…

A Health Care Media Onslaught Is Coming, But Will You Be Ready For It?

Have you noticed an uptick in stories on health care? The ugly “U.S.-pays-way-more-than-any-other-country-for-health-care” graphics we used to see only in boardrooms are making it into the newspapers. And the “health-care-is-still-broken” stories and the “don’t-get-left-behind Obamacare-101″ pieces keep coming. The surge of information in the mass media is only just beginning. The state exchanges…

3 Ways to Help Employees With Their Physical and Financial Wellness

Your workplace wellness campaign may be missing a huge opportunity. And it’s all because of how you define the word “wellness.” Or rather, how you don’t define it. Employers use “wellness” in their communication as their go-to term for physical health. There’s nothing wrong with that. But for your employees and their families,…

4 Ways to Make Your Benefits Communications Plans Successful

You may remember from our Inside Benefits Communication Survey that only 22 percent of employers reported that they currently document their communications strategy. It’s a crucial step in connecting benefits communication with overall benefits program and business goals. No matter what direction you intend to take your benefits this year, you must start…

3 Reasons Why 2013 Will Be THE Year for Benefits Communications

Benefits communication rarely gets the credit — or attention, or budget, or planning — it deserves. Despite well-documented empirical evidence of its impact and big-name thought leaders advocating for more meaningful investment in communication, it usually gets the short end of the stick. I’ve spent my career fighting for better budgets, more time…

Did Your Open Enrollment Results Match Your Health Care Strategy?

Now that open enrollment is over, it’s time to look at its results. Your results will be key in helping you shape your strategy for the coming year. Take a look, in particular, at how your enrollment results line up with your overall health care reform strategy. Here are four ways you can…

3 Reasons to Keep Communicating AFTER Open Enrollment Ends

During annual open enrollment, your employees are reading and hearing a lot about the importance of using their medical plans, participating in wellness programs, and staying ahead of illness. And then open enrollment ends. Cue the chirping crickets. Whether it’s fatigue, or just habit, too many employers stop communicating once enrollment is over….

Open Enrollment? Here’s What Your Employees Are Saying About It

Ever wish you could be a fly on the wall when your employees are talking about open enrollment? Every open enrollment season we share snippets of the conversations happening on Twitter (here are some from 2011, 2010 and 2009). Emotions always run high, and this year #election2012 and #obamacare amplified that. In case…

Communicating About HSAs and CDHPs During Open Enrollment Season

It’s open enrollment season, and many employers are seeking to increase enrollment in consumer driven health plans (CDHPs). To make sure these plans are successful, employers need to know what motivates employees to enroll. Part of what can hold employees back is the lack of awareness surrounding CDHPs and health savings accounts (HSAs)….

How Benefits Communications Can Help the Fight Against Obesity

The story is getting scarier and scarier with each study. And yet, little is changing. Obesity rates continue to increase for all Americans to the point where doctors are witnessing unprecedented health problems in children. HBO recently aired a four-part documentary series called The Weight of the Nation, which examined the consequences, choices…

4 Simple (and Inexpensive) Ways to Improve Your Benefits Communication

When it comes to benefits, we know one size doesn’t fit all. But most companies still use that approach for their benefits communication. While targeting communication for different employees and different scenarios does take a little more effort, it’s in reach for most organizations. Here’s how: Use multiple communication channels Diverse employees mean…

Benefits Coverage Summary: Are You Up to Date on Latest Changes?

A couple of weeks ago, the Department of Labor (DOL) released its final regulations and guidelines for the Summary of Benefits Coverage (SBC), which provides people a standard template to compare the provisions of employer plans as well as those on the individual market. Well, it’s about time! While it lacks in certain…

3 Things You Should Communicate to Employees After Open Enrollment

Open enrollment was a challenge. You used every tool you have — social media, posters, postcards, a website, managers, your sense of humor and patience—to get the word out about your benefits programs and meet your goals. Here’s a thought: Keep doing that. Before you call us crazy, consider this: The next best…