Employee benefit schemes need to work hard if they are going to reap the rewards of improved staff retention and morale. In a time where an increasing number of employers aren’t seeing their benefits schemes reach their full potential, how can you ensure the success of your HR initiatives in 2014?
Communication, communication, communication!
Understanding the employee structure within your organisation is critical to designing an effective communication plan. This may mean multiple channels of communication are used to ensure all employees are exposed to the information in some way or another.
Effective communication is the key to ensuring all employees are aware of your company’s employee benefits scheme and that they are fully engaged and participating. Let’s face it, in the current economic climate, you can ill-afford to be throwing money away on ineffective communication plans. Nor can you be seen to be spending company money on providing a fantastic scheme that none of your employees are aware of or involved in!
Failing to communicate could prove costly
Research by Cass Business School estimates that failing to tell staff about the benefits on offer is costing UK companies £2.7bn every year through increased staff turnover and sickness absence. Failing to communicate your benefits scheme will mean you’re not getting a return on your investment and will result in the scheme costing your company money, for example through increased recruitment costs.
So how can you successfully communicate your employee benefits scheme?
Your communication strategy should aim to maximise employee engagement and participation. To achieve a successful level of engagement in the scheme you first of all need to understand your staff and how they like to receive communications. Once you’ve researched this then it is likely that you’ll find you’ll need to have a multi-pronged communication strategy in order to reach all your employees.
There are a myriad of ways to communicate with your employees but here are some of the different methods that can be included in your communications plan:
- Communication workshops – taking a cross-section of employees from all areas of the business to discuss the best methods of communicating is an effective way of ensuring all employees, whatever their role or location, can be communicated with in an engaging way.
- Presentations – a schedule of company-wide presentations will give all employees the opportunity to attend a presentation to explain how the scheme will work, enabling employees to ask anything through a Q&A session.
- Communication champions – selecting local/team representatives across the company is a great way of promoting the benefits scheme directly to employees, especially if your company has a significant number of staff at multiple sites nationwide.
- Targeted communications – adopting personalised mailings and email updates to employees is an efficient way or reaching them on an individual level.
- Online portal/intranet – communicating via a dedicated site or portal will enable employees to view and manage their benefits online which will dramatically reduce administration costs and paperwork.
- Management support – ensuring your senior managers are fully briefed will enable them to answer any questions their staff may have on a one-to-one basis.
So how will a communications plan help your benefits scheme?
Adopting a properly phased, well-executed communications strategy will increase awareness of the scheme and will improve staff engagement. Employees will have the knowledge and confidence to make use of the benefits to suit their own personal situations. Increasing engagement in a benefits scheme will in turn bring benefits to your business, for example, it will:
- increase staff loyalty and retention
- improve employee satisfaction
- reduce the number of sick days taken by staff
- create a more productive workforce
- increase staff morale
- improve the working environment and culture
- help streamline the company’s administrative processes
- help manage and reduce bottom line costs
There are many advantages associated with an employee benefits scheme, but if you fail to keep your communications plan up to date and engage in regular conversations with your employees then you’re wasting your company’s money. Regular communication is essential to inform employees of any updates, changes and deadlines relating to the benefits scheme and maintain engagement and participation.
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.