Closing the communications gap

The Importance Of CommunicationEmployee benefits communications are a crucial element to the participation in, and ultimately the success of an employee benefit programme. In fact, employee benefit communications can make or break a programme. However, despite this, many organisations and HR professionals are not utilising their communications to best effect.

Many organisations begin their employee benefits with a great launch event that generates a buzz among employees. However, this buzz doesn’t last, which means you need to keep talking to your employees about the benefits that are available to them. You need regular and frequent communications.

 

What to think about

Communications need to resonate and appeal to as many of your employees as possible and there are three elements to this. The first is to make sure you are using the right communications messages, the second is about using the right communications channels, and the third is about how you present those messages.

1. The right communications messages

As marketing professionals will tell you, when writing your communications messages you need to start with ‘why are you communicating with your audience?’ What do you want them to do, what do you want them to know?

It also important to think about who your audience is, older employees approaching retirement will be interested in different benefits to those just entering the workplace or those with young families. Segment your work place and think about each ones needs.

It’s important to remember that this isn’t about, “Aren’t our benefits wonderful!” it’s about communicating how the benefits can improve your employees’ lifestyle – and if you can demonstrate it with real-life examples and case studies even better. Show them how the benefits are relevant to them.

 

2. The right communications channels

communicationsOnce you have the right communication messages you need to choose the right communication channels to talk to your employees. Just like your communication messages, different communication channels will work better for generations or segments.

 

 

Good ways to communicate with your employees and engage them in your benefits scheme include:

  • Benefit posters
  • Emails
  • Online staff portals or Intranet
  • SMS/Text messages
  • Benefits leaflets
  • Staff handbooks
  • As part of the induction process

However, you need to focus on the channels that give your organisation the best results, communicating with your employees is not a scattergun approach such as sending an email and hoping for the best. Therefore, the best way to choose the right communication channels is to ask your employees how they would like to access their benefits information.

 

3. The right presentation

We all take on board information in different ways. Usually, this is visually (look), aurally (hear) or kinestheically (things that are real).

Therefore, it’s a good idea to cover all your bases when designing your communication materials. Presentations, Webinars and podcasts will be useful for those who learn aurally, printed information is good for those who learn visually and case studies are good for those who are kinesthetic learners. Including interactive elements on your online portal or surveys in emails can also help engage your workforce.

 

Sample employee benefits communication plan
Download a sample employee benefits communication planWe’ve put together a sample Employee Benefits Communication Plan for an imaginary company to demonstrate the different aspects of communication planning required to meet the demanding needs of today’s diverse workforce. Inside you’ll find details of everything a busy HR professional should consider, including:

  • How to profile your audience and target messaging that is most likely to appeal.
  • Which tools to utilise.
  • What does an annual communication plan include?
  • How to evaluate the success of any initiatives.

Essential reading if you want to improve benefits uptake. Download now >>

 

John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.
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