Top Tips for Promoting Your Employee Benefits ProgramFor your employees
Most of us agree that effective communication is important for a successful employee benefits program. Ensuring all employees know about and understand the benefits available to them across a multitude of channels is key to increasing engagement in your program – and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
If your organisation, like so many others, places a great deal of importance on your employee benefits program as a means of retaining best talent, you need to invest smartly in strategies that encourage your people to read, instead of deleting, communications about your program.
Communication is not just letting your staff know about the benefits you offer
It’s about making it easy for your employees to access those benefits, and ensuring your people get the most from what you’re offering. You know that your employees are likely to want these benefits but most will tell you they just don’t have the time to read about, or research them.
So how can you communicate better and encourage greater engagement?
1. Keep it simple
The first and perhaps most obvious step is to ensure the material related to your employee benefits program is written in simple, easy-to-understand and jargon-free language. It’s absolutely necessary that your policies and procedures are written in the kind of legalese necessary to protect your organisation – but is that same format useful for talking to your staff about the company’s benefits program?
If your eyes begin to glaze over and your mind wanders as soon as you read a sentence beginning with “employees shall, after a period of not less than…”, imagine what’s going on in the mind of a new employee – with thousands of things already occupying their attention – or other employees (including your HR team) too swamped with the pressures of the day-to-day to thumb through hundreds of bullet points and clauses.
Your benefits program material doesn’t have to be as entertaining as a Las Vegas casino floorshow but ensuring that it explains things in easily digestible bites is a sure-fire way to starting a conversation between you and your staff members.
2. The platform: build it and they will come
According to a report released by HR advisors ADP, nine out of 10 large companies and seven out of 10 mid-size companies all had web-based portals for hosting employee benefits information and resources.
As Tess Taylor wrote in balancecareers.com, this report identified a number of advantages for “setting up a simple system for accessing the portal online and through mobile devices”. These included enabling the employer to add “content that relates to the benefits and wellness goals of employees, providing a central contact number where employees can get live help; updates and plan documents, downloadable on demand; linking the benefits website to the company intranet, and adding a glossary of basic benefit terminology and a library of benefit topics.”
In other words, the centralising of information about your employee benefits program through an online portal is a proven means to increase the level of engagement between employees and their respective programs.
3. Think about delivery methods
The way you communicate with staff is essential. Don’t be afraid to utilise the different media platforms that you might have at your disposal – not forgetting good, old-fashioned snail mail, if necessary.
As Natalie Burg noted in Forbes magazine, while companies are investing heavily in mobile apps and even artificial intelligence, taking a holistic view of the organisation will encourage greater engagement.
“Not every employee uses digital channels regularly,” she says. “Factory workers, for example, aren’t necessarily plugged in when they’re at work. Even if they are, they may prefer getting their information in an analogue fashion – through face-to-face meetings, for example. It’s important to research your employees’ different learning styles to determine the best method of communicating with them.”
4. Offer other incentives
When it comes down to it, you’re selling your benefits program to your staff, so why not dangle the metaphorical carrot just like you would any other customer?
At a really simple level, for example, you might undertake promotions or awareness campaigns that link certain benefits to the time of year. An easy and cost-effective way of doing this would be to promote discounts available to staff with health and wellbeing providers that coincide with peak periods of the business.
Traditionally, times of high stress are the end of financial year at an accounting firm, the Christmas and post-Christmas sales period for in retail, or the onset of spring for people working in hospitality, and so on. Consider sending an eDM to staff about discounts they might be able to access at a local day spa; tell them about movie ticket discounts for a night out with the family; or maybe you could be offering flex-time arrangements?
Apart from the cost involved in setting up a dedicated web portal, as mentioned earlier, these are all fairly simplistic examples. They demonstrate that you don’t have to be super creative – just take a minute to understand the people in your workplace, their preferred method of engagement and then take it from there.
LeasePlan can provide an evolving ‘toolkit’ of materials and activities to support you in communicating your employee benefit program. Start a conversation with us today.