Benefits communications: If you’ve got it, flaunt it!
We think it’s time for you to start having some fun with your benefits communications. Our latest UK Employee Benefits Watch 2017/18 research found that employees in the UK rank benefits sixth out of all influences on their loyalty, ahead of company culture.
But many employers suffer the effects of unloved and unnoticed benefits that seem to offer little ROI. One of the main contributing factors to this is simply that employers aren’t flaunting the benefits they offer effectively enough. Given that improving the employee experience is the top objective for UK benefit strategies, the need to get your employees more engaged with their benefits is clear.
Why can’t all employers deliver great benefits communications?
Many employees are not satisfied with the quality and frequency of information they receive about their benefits, and this is primarily due to the fact that the majority of companies find communications a challenge.
We found that 1 in 4 employers are ineffective at making employers aware of the benefits that are available to them, whilst 1 in 3 employers fail to ensure that employees understand the full value of them, this could be because they are relying on a one-channel approach.
For those employees who are satisfied with their benefits, they stated that the main reason for this is that they ‘receive useful information about their benefits’ and also feel that their employer spends an appropriate amount on them. The gains to be had from communicating effectively are clear - so what exactly is stopping employers from flaunting their benefits?
We found that there are four key blockers preventing great benefits communication, the first being time. Time is a precious commodity, and often spending huge amounts of it informing employees about their benefits could be considered unproductive especially if they also need to be administering those benefits to the employees.
Face-to-face interactions are incredibly effective but are obviously the most time consuming. The good news is that not all communications need to take a lot of time, but you need to make sure you are maximising your technology. For example, when you’re tight on time, why not record a webinar or a series of short videos for your employees to watch on-demand?
In addition to time constraints, HR teams will always have higher priorities to manage. If there are deadlines looming, unfortunately benefits communications are often pushed further down the list. So to ensure you are keeping your communications pace up, why not schedule some of your pre-recorded videos to send out at regular intervals and remove it from your to-do list altogether? Or perhaps pre-arrange desk drops with information for timely events such as a reminder for the gym-membership benefit in January. Remember it’s about working smarter, not harder.
Another key barrier for HR teams is the lack of knowledge employees might already have about their benefits, for example if they’ve just got married are they aware that they can add a dependant?
So why not try taking a little and often approach such as continuously interacting with them throughout the year, especially during key events or different life stages. Make sure you keep your employees aware of what they are entitled to and how to access them, at the time it’s most relevant to them. Another great example would be updating employees returning from parental leave about childcare vouchers for a more personalised and memorable experience.
Often a key reason for poor benefits communications is budget. However, your communications initiatives don’t need to be costly. Utilise what you already know and maximise the use of systems you already have to provide information in a quick and easy way.
For example having a benefits champion from among your employees record a short testimonial, or host a drop-in clinic at their desk for fellow colleagues to ask questions about the benefits they love and use is a great way to spread knowledge and enthusiasm. Another way to reduce cost is by maximising your use of free social media platforms such as Twitter or LinkedIn. Why not create an account or group just for your employees to post all about your great benefits?
All of the barriers mentioned above can be overcome with quick and easy solutions, so don’t let your benefits fall flat with your employees. By injecting a little fun into your communications you can really help to improve the employee experience and make sure your benefits are really loved.
As more engaged employees, equals happier and more loyal employees – it will also help ensure you’re meeting your employee experience objectives. Make sure you look out over the next few weeks for more benefits communications quick wins to help you overcome these obstacles as when it comes to benefits we believe: If you’ve got it. Flaunt it!
Vicky Edwards is communications manager at Thomsons Online Benefits.
This article was provided by Thomsons Online Benefits.
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