According to research from the University of California, the average person consumes the equivalent of 34GB of information every day. This includes 105,000 words each day, or 23 words per second within a 12-hour period each day.
We might not process all this, but this is the kind of noise effective employee benefits communication needs to cut through.
Here we’ll cover employee benefits communication in-depth and how to improve effectiveness without the need for a large budget or lots of resource.
Ultimately, this guide serves to help your business improve its employee benefits communication and make your communications work for both your business and your employees.
How are employers communicating benefits in 2022?
The trends we’re seeing in the employee benefits space are that employers are looking to communicate more regularly with employees about their benefits, with more personalised and targeted messaging to appeal more to the specific needs of employees.
This makes sense, given the amount of information communications need to cut through as mentioned, but also given that employees are rightly demanding more flexibility and more personalised employee experiences.
We’re also seeing employers utilising technology more as part of their communications and engagement strategies, while testing new methods of communicating with employees.
Virtual workshops have become more popular to support changing work habits.
While email still proves to be the most popular employee communication channel for employers, inboxes are flooded, so employers face the challenge of varying communications to suit employees.
The value of effective employee benefits communications
Aside from improved engagement, there are loads of other great benefits to effective employee benefits communication.
Good benefits communication ensures employees know the true value of their employee benefits package.
Employees may perceive the value of the benefits available to them to be less than what they actually are.
For example, employees might not know they could save on their weekly or monthly shop with employee discounts, or they may be unaware of how cost-effective it may be to drive electric through their car benefit scheme.
There’s all the knock-on effects to consider too. Metrics like absenteeism or overall employee wellbeing could be boosted through more effective benefits communication by boosting engagement with health and wellbeing benefits.
There are a few extra things to consider with this though, which we’ll touch on a bit further on in this article.
The importance of an effective benefits brand
Do you have an internal or employer brand? Introducing or emphasising your employer brand can be a great way to improve employee benefits communication.
Your business’ brand is designed to appeal to the customer and a strong and popular brand can support recruitment and retention, but as an employer you’re appealing to potential candidates and your existing team.
A benefits brand can help appeal more specifically to the different segments of your employee-base, strengthen and promote company culture and promote the advantages of your employee benefits.
At caboodle, we’ve built employer and benefits brands for clients to promote their employee benefits platform and EVPs effectively. For more information, take a look at our employee benefits platform options.
Channels and methods of employee benefits communication
Thankfully, there are plenty of options when it comes to employee benefits communication methods.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it includes some of the most popular communication channels employers typically utilise.
- Virtual webinars and workshops
- Your employee benefits platform
- Communications through management-cascade
- In-person conversation
- Handouts, leaflets, flyers and other printed materials
- Internal communications platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams
- Virtual town hall meetings
- Video and livestreaming
- Mobile apps
- Social media groups
Methods like virtual webinars and workshops, virtual town hall meetings, video, livestreaming and management-cascade are all becoming more and more popular methods of communicating benefits as the prominence of flexible and hybrid working have increased.
Ultimately though, the right mix of channels and methods will depend on a number of factors including budget, resource, data availability and employee preference.
More personalised communications are becoming more and more important, and as mentioned it’s becoming more important for communications to cut through all the information we’re exposed to every day.
Segmenting your employee-base can help personalise communications to make them more effective. Some methods of segmenting employees include:
- Work location
- Age or generation (e.g., Generation Z)
- Job role or department
- Channel preference
Some variables for segmentation are more effective and important in certain scenarios than others.
Segmenting by gender for example is useful in communicating about maternity or paternity pay, menopause support or for particular focuses on men’s or women’s health, for example.
Seniority can be useful for information classification or for encouraging information cascading through management, for example.
These are just a few examples, but more often than not it comes down to the needs and preferences of employees.
Segmenting by needs and wants can be a little trickier than segmenting by age for example if you don’t have the data, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking different generations have different preferences, as more often than not there are other variables at play other than age that dictate a person’s preferences.
7 quick and actionable ways to improve your employee benefits communications and boost engagement
HR and internal comms teams are busy enough, so here are a few quick questions to ask of your current benefits engagement and comms strategy to see if there are areas to improve:
- Are you communicating at the right frequency?
After launching a platform or scheme, did you continue to promote it with relevant communications?
Schemes like the Bike Scheme for example have multiple benefits including great cost savings, improved health and wellbeing and reducing carbon emissions.
Each of these benefits will appeal to different employees, so different communications leading with each of these benefits may help capture the attention of more employees.
- Are you segmenting your audience? If so, are you doing it correctly?
Do you have the data, time and resource to segment employees for more targeted and personal communications? If so, this could represent a good opportunity to boost engagement.
And importantly, if you do segment, are you doing it effectively? As mentioned, be wary of segmenting by factors like generation, as generations don’t always share as many common needs, wants and priorities as you might think.
- Is the messaging appropriate? E.g., is it speaking to current trends, themes and priorities for employees like the cost of living?
Linking the benefits of your employee benefits to key challenges employees face right now, like the cost-of-living crisis for example, will help those communications cut through and support employees with the things that really matter.
- Are your channels appropriate?
It’s not just about the channels you use but the mix of channels. What works best for your employees? It could be a mix of digital communications like emails and workshops or maybe even SMS could be a useful channel for your employees.
- Are you providing ways for employees to respond to communications?
For example, at the end of workshops, invite feedback from employees. This will be invaluable for working out what communications work best for employees.
Employee feedback is key to finding the best ways to communicate with staff.
- Are you using the right tech?
For example, are you utilising things like Slack or Microsoft Teams? And does your employee benefits platform provide the right tech when it comes to communicating with employees?
- Do you have a benefits brand? And does it speak to your employees?
We’ve touched on the importance of a benefits brand. What does yours look like? Does your business have one? This might represent an opportunity to make employee benefits communications more effective.
Factors to consider before overhauling or optimising communications
Employee benefits communications ultimately need to communicate the value of benefits to employees in the way that suits them best, but if the benefits offering isn’t right in the first place, then they’ll fall flat.
What do your other metrics and KPIs look like? Are your employees healthy, happy, present?
Factors like poor job design, excessive workloads, poor relationships, bad culture, sticking-plaster approaches to wellbeing, inflexibility, if they exist, are areas that need to be addressed first before the conversation around benefits communication can even begin.
Ineffective communications may be indicative of wider issues, so be sure to check these KPIs and metrics, but also be sure to collect qualitative feedback.
Speak to employees and understand their view of existing communications, but also aim to understand if there are other issues at play like the ones mentioned.
How employee benefits technology enhances communications
The right employee benefits technology can make employee benefits communications much less administrative, inexpensive, and generally much easier to manage.
An employee benefits platform can be used to host any FAQ’s and all the important information about employee benefit schemes and employee documentation for employees to accesses whenever, wherever.
Notifications, newsfeeds and apps can all provide further communications channels and options for triggered communications based on platform engagement to automatically boost benefits engagement with minimal admin.
A platform can host marketing material such as posters, email HTMLS and templates and handouts to provide further methods of communication.
Simply bringing the whole benefits package together in one place through a user-friendly platform encourages employees to find out more about other benefits available.
There’s also the challenge of international communications. As we’ve mentioned, one important method of segmenting employees for communications is segmentation by location.
The right platform and benefits technology can help overcome challenges relating to language translation, currency conversion, local laws and regulations to name a few.
Furthermore, an international platform can help provide crucial data on how employees are engaging with benefits based on location to help inform future communications.
Utilise the right benefits tech to boost engagement through effective communications
Through employee benefits platforms we’ve developed and provided for many of our 2,000+ clients internationally, we’ve helped companies boost engagement and deliver employee benefits packages that make a genuine difference to employees in an easy, effective and cost-efficient way.
You can find out more about our different employee benefits platform options, or for a free demo, get in touch and we’ll run through how employee benefits communication works through the employee benefits technology we provide to businesses globally.