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16 Nov 2023
by Riaan van Wyk

Tips for communicating benefits with employees working non-traditional patterns

With the modern workplace ranging from shift work to remote and flexible working, it’s never been more important to ensure communication about benefits reaches everyone

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The UK workforce is now more diverse than ever, with more and more employees working non-traditional patterns. Shift workers, remote workers and flexible working arrangements are now common. As a result, it is vital that employers effectively communicate employee benefits to all employees, regardless of their work pattern.

There challenges when communicating employee benefits to this often disparate group of employees, including:

  • Problems with accessing information: Employees working non-traditional patterns may have difficulty accessing information about benefits. This could be due to not having access to the same resources as those who may have an office-based work pattern, eg access to intranet sites or benefits handbooks.
  • Lack of awareness: Employees working non-traditional patterns might simply not aware of the benefits available. This could be because their working patterns or location mean that they can’t attend team meetings or access/read company communications.

Strategies for communication

  • 1. Use a range of channels: Widening the range of communication channels will make information more readily accessible to the target audience. This could include email, intranet, mailshots to home addresses, social media and employee newsletters. It is also important to make sure communication materials are available in accessible formats, such as audio and large print where appropriate.
  • 2. Tailor messages to specific audiences: Employers need to tailor their messages to the specific needs of employees working different non-traditional patterns. For example, shift workers may be interested in different benefits than remote workers or employees with flexible working arrangements.
  • 3. Understand what employees want: Employers can use employee surveys and focus groups to learn more about the specific needs and interests of different groups of employees.
  • 4. Make information accessible: It should be made easy for employees to access information about their benefits. This could include creating a dedicated section on the company intranet or creating a benefits guide available in both electronic and print formats. Employers should also make sure that employees have a clear contact point if they have any questions.
  • 5. Provide tailored support: Employers may want to consider taking a more individual approach by offering tailored support to those who need help understanding or accessing their benefits. Offering one-on-one meetings with HR staff or providing access to online resources may help.

Supporting non-traditional workers

As well as communicating employee benefits effectively, employers should also have policies to support employees working non-traditional patterns. These policies could include:

  • Flexible benefits options: Employers should offer flexible benefits options so that employees can choose those that are most important. This could include offering a variety of health insurance plans, retirement savings plans, and work-life balance benefits.
  • Shift workers: Employers should accommodate the needs of shift workers by providing access to on-site amenities, such as fitness facilities.
  • Support for remote workers: Employers should ensure remote workers are fully provided with the resources they need to fulfil their roles, such as access to company technology and IT support.

Examples of effective communication

Some examples of effective communication strategies which employers can use to reach employees working non-traditional patterns include:

  • Email: Send regular email newsletters to employees working non-traditional patterns. These newsletters can include information about new benefits, upcoming benefits flex window deadlines, and FAQs about benefits.
  • Intranet: Employers may wish to create a dedicated section on their intranet for employee benefits information. This should include information about all of the benefits that are available to employees, as well as information on how to access them.
  • Social media: Employers can also use social media to communicate with employees working non-traditional patterns. For example, employers could create a social media group for shift workers or remote workers.
  • Newsletters: Employers can include information about employee benefits in any employee newsletters. This information can be tailored to the specific needs of employees working different non-traditional patterns.

By following or implementing the strategies and policies outlined above, employers can effectively communicate employee benefits to employees working non-traditional patterns and be confident that all employees have the opportunity to understand and access the benefits available to them.

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