How to Effectively Communicate Employee Benefits

One Medical found that 69% of employees would choose one job over another, if it offered better benefits. Willis Towers Watson also found that 75% of employees are more likely to stay with their employer because of their benefits package. Needless to say, benefits can truly impact whether an employee is happy with the organisation they work for.

That being said, benefits are essentially pointless, if they aren’t actually communicated to employees. The inability to effectively inform staff members what employee benefits are on offer has been found to cost UK companies a staggering £2.7 billion every year, through increased turnover and sick leave. For a typical company with 1,000 employees, this equates to roughly £470,000 every year.

So how can employers effectively communicate benefits to their employees?

Below are a number of steps organisations can take in order to raise awareness of their benefits and improve their effectiveness. Which in turn should increase their uptake, and therefore ultimately boost morale, motivation, and staff retention.

1. Differentiate

In order to understand what kind of benefits will recruit, drive and retain employees, it’s crucial that employers understand the different kinds of individuals within their organisation. One way of doing this would be to segment employees by different characteristics, such as benefits preferences, needs, and hobbies. Employees could also be segmented by age, whether they have any dependencies or common interests, and whether they are office-based or remote workers. This process allows organisations to create a clearer picture of their workforce and their needs, allowing them to start proactively understand what benefits are appropriate for different members of staff.

Once employees have been segmented and further understood, it’s important to facilitate a discussion to further understand whether employees are aware of the benefits, whether they actually want them and whether they are being used. The most effective way to initially tackle the issue would be to review employees’ understanding, use, and demand of the benefits currently on offer through the use of a survey, in conjunction with conversations. Once the survey has been sent out, the HR and Reward team should be encouraged to talk to employees, where they can, about how they perceive the benefits scheme.

The findings from this qualitative and quantitative research may mean that the benefits offerings needs to be revamped or modified.

2. Communicate

Once the most effective and attractive benefits packages have been created, the next hurdle is acing the communication strategy. Firstly, it needs to be determined how the benefits are currently being communicated, in terms of channels and frequency. After reviewing how they’re being communicated, gaps in understanding and ease of access should become more apparent.

Now we’re not necessarily suggesting organisations need to speak to each employee about the benefits on a one-to-one basis, given that for larger organisations this may be very time consuming or logistically impossible. However, this could be as simple as ensuring it is talked about in regular team meetings or during performance reviews between line managers and employees. This should be done in conjunction with emails, posts on the company intranet, printed materials such as leaflets, or by creating an online benefits platform.

It is important to highlight that this should not be a one-time-only exercise. It’s important to think about how employers can discuss their benefits frequently, so that they are kept front and center of employees’ minds.

3. Engage

Whilst it’s clear that communicating benefits to employees is important, it is even more vital that they stay engaged. One way this could be achieved is by ensuring that constant feedback is received from staff members regarding the benefits and ensuring two-way communication is utilised. By engaging employees and including them in process, they are more likely to feel as though they are valued and that their input is taken seriously. Not only will this process ensure employees are included throughout the process, it will also enable the employer to have up to date information on whether the benefits are still relevant and working, or whether they need to be changed.

Furthermore, it has also been suggested that creating a communications plan, outlining all of the channels that will be used and how various stakeholders will be involved, improves engagement.

Conclusion

Communicating employee benefits involves competing for a share of an employees’ headspace, so benefits and communications professionals need to be able to win that battle by offering engaging messages that reflect the needs, wants and motivations of employees. These can only be understood by communicating with your workforce and understanding what they need, want and value.


References

Employee Benefits and Perks Statistics – The Ultimate Collection
Are you aware of the employee benefits available to you?

Author: Kate Dixon-Phillip


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