3 Lessons We Learned in 2020 That We’ll Carry into 2021


We are fortunate to assist with the benefit communication needs of over 150 unique clients each year, spanning virtually every major industry. This perspective gives us insight into strategies that kept benefits communication a high priority for our clients as a result of – and in spite of – a worldwide pandemic. 

Here are the top lessons we learned in 2020:

1) Digital Communication Provides Needed Flexibility

The pandemic was a catalyst for digital benefit communications. Human Resources teams were tasked with communicating benefits while minimizing productivity disruptions and shepherding their employees from office buildings to a work-from-home environment. This added HR workload prompted the need for streamlined, effective benefit communications.

Many of our clients adopted a digital communication strategy once COVID hit which led to a more flexible, communicative, and effective response to their employees’ needs. Last year, the most successful benefit campaigns included a benefits microsite as a hub of information which employees can access anytime, anywhere. These benefit hubs were supplemented with deliverables that directed employees to the new site through frequent, light touches throughout the year, such as:

HR teams that successfully deployed digital benefit communications saw a dramatic decrease in the number of routine questions being directed to the HR department.

2) Nothing Beats the Personal Touch

More than ever, we appreciate the value of personal service for our three key stakeholders: our clients, our broker partners, and our company. Our project managers bring a high level of service to each of our clients by guiding the entire process – from project kickoff to delivery, and every step in between. Last year our project management team delivered more products on time and within budget using new and proven strategies:

Improved Preparation for Open Enrollment

In 2020, many decisions that are typically made in June were delayed until September, dramatically compressing the already busy open enrollment period. Our project management team took steps to streamline processes and complete tasks ahead of time which allowed us to deliver a quality product on schedule, despite tight turnaround times.

It’s All About the Details

Our project managers find that discovery calls, kick-off meetings, and detailed project plans are the keys to keeping all parties involved, informed, and accountable. Regularly scheduled touchpoints between brokers, clients, and CPI’s project managers allow ideas to be discussed and concerns to be addressed early. This keeps everyone on task and helps with time and cost management.

A Hospitality Mindset

CPI is a firm believer in a “hospitality mindset.” For us, this presents itself in our unrelenting drive to serve our clients, brokers, and partners. We heard from many of you that the CPI project management team helped not only deliver our products on time, but also provided the structure to complete other elements of open enrollment with efficiency and timeliness.

3) A Strong Company Culture Leads to Better Outcomes

We observed that companies with a strong cultural foundation are better equipped to manage team priorities and keep productivity high even during difficult times. 2020 brought unexpected upheaval to businesses across the country. The CPI team was not immune to these challenges. With new work-from-home requirements, we needed to find ways to continue to support our clients while maintaining our solid company culture. We focused on a renewed commitment to our company’s values and consistent communication.

A Commitment to Our Company’s Core Values

Each December, we review our core values. We make adjustments as needed and recommit to practicing those values. While we were not expecting the major disruption that occurred last year, we were able to fall back on those company values as we each packed up our desks and headed home for an undefined period of time.

Virtual Connection with Teammates

We were concerned that the separation from our coworkers would have a negative impact on our work cadence and camaraderie. Instead, we became more efficient while still having fun at work and enjoying our colleagues’ online company. Recurring, virtual meetings and happy hours helped us stay connected and focused on our common goals – leading to happy employees and satisfied clients.

While 2020 brought its share of challenges, it also brought new insight. We have a greater appreciation of our uplifting company culture; we developed new solutions to satisfy our clients’ needs; and we found a renewed dedication to our time-honored project management strategies. We look forward to taking these lessons into 2021 and beyond.

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