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Open Enrollment

4 Tips for Using Humor to Engage Employees During Benefits Enrollment

by Nayya Marketing September 29, 2022

4 Tips for Using Humor to Engage Employees During Benefits Enrollment

Whether you love talking about benefits (we know you do!) or not, we can all agree that most employees can find open enrollment talk confusing, stressful, and maybe even boring. However, a little laughter and fun can go a long way in engaging employees during benefits enrollment. The key is effectively using humor to make your benefits meeting and communications more lively.

However, there’s a delicate balance between being funny and getting the message across. We love using jokes and memes to communicate as much as the next guy, but it’s important that you’re being extremely careful about the jokes you make and the effect that they can have. That being said, we’ve put together a handy list of 4 tips you need to keep in mind when trying to use humor to make enrollment more enjoyable for employees.

1) Steer clear of poking fun at any group of people, anyone’s background, or anything personal

Sure, many comedians have built their careers using “edgy” jokes, but it’s a path you should avoid at all costs. Poking fun at any group of people is always a big no, regardless if you have the best intentions or think it’s a little “jab''. This means staying away from jokes involving gender, race, religion, or targeting a specific person like a fellow employee, or even celebrities.

Speaking of celebrities, you want to make sure you avoid any references to any current celebrity gossip or drama. We’re seeing more and more companies chiming in and making jokes about trending celebrity stories, but it’s best to avoid this situation overall. You never want to associate your brand or culture with negativity and gossip. You want all your humor to be harmless and inoffensive. Think about making funny puns or hilarious videos about cats or dogs being goofy and cute. And keep all the jokes G/PG rated– think about kids’ movies that are kid-safe but many adults still get a chuckle out of them. That’s what you’re aiming for here.

2) Avoid anything political

Politics is another area you want to stay far away from. Remember, you’re an HR team promoting open enrollment, you’re not Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel. While it might be easy to slide in a joke or two about the current political climate, you still risk offending someone on the team. Regardless of anyone’s political views and affiliation, you all have the same goals when at work.

You should avoid any controversial topics. We’ll avoid mentioning anything specific, but we’re sure you have a good idea of what things you should consider taboo in a work setting. Just remember to keep things light, general, and fun so everyone feels in on the joke and your ultimate goal of educating employees about benefits is achieved. One bad joke could make them miss the entire point of what your meeting or communication is about.

3) Anytime you're going to make a joke, put yourself in other people's shoes

While this might sound obvious, it takes conscious and deliberate effort to get it right. Step outside your own mind and think about how other people might view your joke. Ask yourself questions like– does this joke make any sense? Is it relatable? Will this offend someone?

And don’t assume everyone will read things the same as you. A lot of inflection and verbal clues are lost in text, so sarcasm might be difficult for people to pick up on when they’re reading emails and messages. We’d say sarcasm should be avoided unless it’s extremely obvious, and it works better when people can hear and see you. Sarcasm is only funny because one of the key elements is saying the opposite of what we truly mean. So, it can be interpreted as literal if used incorrectly.

4) Only Use Humor to Grab Attention

Humor should be used only for grabbing the employee’s attention and interest. When you’re getting to important stuff such as benefits information, deadlines, or anything like that, then it’s time to get serious and down to the nitty-gritty. You don’t want to throw jokes around during these parts because you don’t want to confuse people and have them believe something that’s not true. Keep things straightforward and to the point.

And don’t go overboard with your jokes when grabbing attention. If you take things too far, you will get the opposite result and turn people off. They’ll be less receptive to the serious info later on.

Jokes work best when they’re presented at the beginning of your speech or email. And they can also be used to close things out. However, stuffing in puns and jokes after every few sentences can make the tactic lose its effects.

Final Thoughts

Using humor during benefits enrollment is a fun and creative way to engage employees in benefits enrollment. However, it has to be done right. Hopefully, these 4 tips we’ve provided will come in handy and help you get started on the right foot.

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