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3 communication strategies that can help HR managers eliminate case overload

Total Rewards

By Chris Keys | March 4, 2020

To truly get out of the transactional HR data management hole, you need to use that data to personalize your HR communications.

Did your attempts to improve employee experience by resolving more HR call center requests on first contact result in more case workload for your call centers? Rather than remain stuck in transactional HR data management, you need to put that data to work so you can personalize your HR communications to reduce calls and increase benefits awareness.

The basis of many HR transformation or employee experience exercises seems to revolve around achieving operational efficiency, defining global governance, and operating across enterprise from hire to retire. Interestingly, many of these initiatives that achieve 80% first contact resolution (or higher with a well-programmed chat bot) result in much more case workload for contact centers and subject matter experts. The math doesn’t always seem to work as advertised.

Here are three degrees of personalized communication that you can adopt to create a truly individualized experience, deflecting those extra cases and — more importantly — achieving a whole new degree of program awareness and adoption.

  1. 01


    The ability to segment content so that the right groups see only what they should is relatively new to HR ticketing systems (or HR service management”) yet has been a staple of intranets and communication portals for years. Segmentation by business entity, location, employee type or other core data allows you to develop communication plans with one website address but have confidence that a user will only have access to what they should.

    Many intranets and some HR service management systems can also apply this segmentation to documents such as policies and procedures and even benefits guides and other important HR material. It’s a good start. With some careful planning, an annual communication planning exercise based on segmentation can increase the value of touchpoints with your pre-hires, employees and former employees.

  2. 02


    Adding relevant data opens the door to new and exciting communication options and can help stem the deluge of case work that can keep mired in what feels like administrative minutiae. Look at frequently used and high value data and bring it front and center into the online experience. For some organizations, the often-elusive paid time off (PTO) balance swings the pendulum toward “this online experience is superb.”

    For others it may be a health savings account balance, a financial wellbeing score or the value of a stock award. Yet that is just the beginning. You can raise awareness and appreciation of your plans and programs by creating a single point of reference with data updated in real time, daily or as frequently as is feasible. But the real value begins when you start to communicate around that data.

    Here’s an example using that PTO balance. Displaying the balance is useful. Reminding me that I can only roll over 120 hours into the next calendar year — based on the fact that I could potentially have more than 120 according to my current balance, accrual rate and applicable policy — provides me valuable education. Going a step further, and reminding me that I have eight standard holidays, a volunteer service day, a travel service that can help with personal travel in addition to business travel, employee discounts that include show tickets and theme parks, and a chance to buy additional days off during annual enrollment. Now I have a much broader appreciation of the amazing rewards my company provides.

    You can choose to categorize and wrap various data sets into a total rewards view, but you can still create powerful communication even if only certain data sets are available. Personalization of the experience, across all channels (chatbot, app, site, service center) connects employees to the organization in meaningful ways, gives them and their family members on-demand access to valuable information and reduces much of the churn created by the “automated case management will solve it” approach.

  3. 03

    Behavior-changing hyper personalization

    A carefully curated communication strategy directly contributes to achieving excellence in each dimension of the employee experience: purpose, work, people and rewards. The use of data-driven “nudges” leads employees to engage in their benefits and rewards programs, helping them to feel connected more than ever to the purpose of their work and creates a sense of trust that leaders “get it.”

Here are some examples:

  • A mindful nudge to tell me it’s time to take a look at my savings portfolio, based on the fact that I am at midcareer and have a decent retirement savings balance, yet I am not taking full advantage of the stock discount program.
  • An encouraging nudge congratulating me on taking a health risk assessment, but noting I have not yet scheduled a follow-up consult, combined with a reminder that there is a pharmacy discount program that I could be taking advantage of and a more-than-convenient onsite health clinic right in the building.
  • An email reminding me of free stress management courses, alongside information on childcare discounts, company-match programs for health savings and expense accounts and a shift-swap website for single parents.

These examples are intended to paint a picture of what you could achieve with personalized communications. You may choose to encourage newly promoted managers or nudge those five years from retirement to plan in earnest. You may emphasize the availability of critical illness programs based on age and health demographics or run education programs around financial wellbeing with acutely relevant programs and services. These nudges are finely tuned and yield massive return, yet they are surprisingly achievable. You no longer have to spend your time swimming in the seas of transactional HR data management, but rather can use data to communicate and engage based on different types and sources of insight.

Content modules on screen, outbound emails, banners, call outs, images and more are all used in concert to serve up highly relevant plan and program information, raise awareness of the existence and value of plans and programs, and change behavior and engagement.

And yes, stem the deluge of case overload.


Director, HR Software at Willis Towers Watson

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