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29 Aug 2023
by Courtney Dobson, Melissa Gannaway

10 tips for getting employee benefits communication right

Effective communication of employee benefits is the key to driving uptake

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Employee reward and benefit schemes play a vital role in employer value propositions that attract and retain talent. Yet it’s not uncommon for the use of schemes to fall well below 50% of the workforce due to lack of awareness of what’s on offer.

Whether you are launching a new scheme, or need to give an existing programme a boost, here are the top 10 tips for effective communications that are essential if you want to drive uptake and ensure your scheme delivers value.

1. Be timely

In the run-up to launch (or re-launch), build excitement by giving employees a preview of what’s coming. However, any teaser needs to be timely and transparent. Being vague about what you are going to offer and when is only likely to create a sense of mistrust. When you’re sure of your launch date, go live with your teaser communications one to two weeks in advance.

Think about the other communications coming out of the organisation too. People don’t distinguish between communications received from HR vs IT, or other departments, so make sure you complement what they are saying and avoid clashing with any big announcements.

2. Be clear

Make the benefits of your benefits clear. Key messages should include:

  • We’re providing a scheme with your physical, financial and mental wellbeing in mind.
  • We’ve chosen benefits that will complement and support your lifestyle.
  • We’re aware of the pressure on the cost of living: we have 100s of discounts that can help make your money go further.
  • Here’s what you need to do to access your benefits.
  • This is when we’re launching.  

3. Cover all touch points

Create your supporting communications – this should include posters, demo videos, emails, how-to guides and FAQs, to name only a few.

Next, map out the internal communications channels you can use. For example, if your organisation uses Teams or Slack, set up a channel where you can share the latest news and discounts. This is a great way to get the conversation going among employees. And don’t forget about those who are offline – how will you best reach them? Make use of heavy footfall areas such as coffee and lunch areas, locker rooms and bathrooms.

4. Be accessible

Around 18% of people in the UK have a disability, so you must make sure all your materials are accessible. Carry out a Web Content Accessibility Guidelines standard accessibility audit to ensure people with restricted eyesight can still access it.

5. Engage line managers 

Line managers are your benefits champions. Ensure they have all the information they need before launch. Ask them to play demo videos at team meetings, share how-to guides and add wellbeing benefits to 1-2-1 meeting agendas.

6. Target new starters

Engage new employees from the time they join the business. It’s the time when people are most receptive to learning about benefits. Make sure benefits are a key part of your new starter induction process.

7. Engage face-to-face

Typically, you’ll see a 60%+ increase in engagement compared with the previous month after face-to-face events. Webinars are useful too, indeed essential, if most of your people work from home. Pick your timing well. Consider what else is going on in the business and when people are likely to be in the office. Wednesday and Thursday, around lunchtime, are usually the best times to hold webinar or roadshow events.

8. Repeat and repeat again (but keep the message fresh)

People need to hear a message seven times before they’re able to retain it. Repeat messaging in different ways to drive awareness and get action. Be creative. TikTok style videos starring senior leaders can have a huge impact.

Create a calendar of awareness days, events and seasonal promotions to tie in messaging about your benefits. Example: If you have a Cycle2Work scheme, talk about it when it’s National Bike Week or Cycle to Work Day. Think about Black Friday and Christmas too – the two best times to get your message about discounts across.

9. Keep up the momentum

Showcase your benefits and the best savings available in weekly internal newsletters to keep your scheme front of mind. This will increase long-term engagement by 50%.

10. Make benefits a two-way conversation

Finally, send out regular pulse surveys to find out if employees are using the benefits and if they know what’s on offer. You may need to rethink your tactics if they don’t.

Also ask them to share their tips on getting the most from their benefits, how much they’ve saved and how much better they feel. Create case studies. Spread the word through social channels like your Teams Channel and Yammer. There’s nothing quite like word of mouth to help you get the message through.

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