A big bang benefit launch is bound to be accompanied by fantastic communications. But what happens after that? For employee benefits to secure engagement and deliver the best return on investment, they need nurturing with a carefully crafted and well-written employee benefit communications plan.
In the second and final part of this series, we take a look at managing your message, selecting the right channels and measuring the impact of your communications.
Find messaging that cuts through
The first blog in this series talked about the importance of understanding your audience to help you craft compelling messages. Many organisations take an enterprise-centred view of communications, thinking mainly about what they want to tell employees. We advise that you flip this on its head: by placing your audience’s interests at the heart of your communications you’ll create messages that speak directly to them.
You can even segment your audience so you only send relevant messages to certain sections of your employee population. This enables you to create communications that deal with their specific interests and needs.
Let’s think about promoting a salary sacrifice benefit like bike to work. If millennials tend to be concerned about the environment and worried about cycling safety, you could create specific communications for this population. By promoting the green benefits of cycling and explaining that vouchers can be used to buy cycling safety equipment, you’ll tap into the positives and overcome their fears with targeted communications.
For your messaging to be effective it needs to:
- Be meaningful, transparent and valuable for staff
- Be written in plain english with no jargon
- Highlight what’s in it for the audience
- Help employees take action
Try bringing your communications to life with employee success stories about using your benefit schemes. And provide digestible facts and information that make complex information easy to understand. This is particularly important when it comes to financial matters as financial literacy in the UK is very low.
Good benefit providers will support you with ready-made communications that can be branded for your organisation. Taking advantage of this kind of support makes all the difference when it comes to an effective launch and ongoing comms.
Choosing the right channels to communicate
When you’re close to your benefit programmes, it can feel like you’re making the same points again and again. However, your employees will only pick up on some of your communications so it’s safe to use multiple channels to communicate the same message.
To communicate effectively, you need to know where your staff get their information and use all the mediums available to you. That could be your:
- Internal social media platforms
- Printed materials
- Total reward statements
- Online platforms
- Face-to-face meetings and events
Use a mix of these channels all year round and you’ll soon get the message out about your great choice of benefits.
Don’t worry if you’re not certain which mix of messages and channels will produce the best results. You won’t get this 100% right first time. The main point is to start then review your results using the measures you set up as part of your communications strategy.
Measuring the results
This is probably the most important part of any communications plan but it’s also the most overlooked. The KPIs you set as part of your strategy will give you a good place to begin but you’ll also need to factor in the channels you used and any audience segmentation.
Whether you wanted to raise awareness, or increase uptake or usage of benefits, you’ll need to compare results every quarter to your baseline measures taken at the start of your campaign. For example, if you want to drive usage of your cashplan scheme you’ll need to know your usage stats before you launched your comms. Then check in every quarter with your provider to see whether your comms are having the desired effect.
Whatever your intended outcomes, there are lots of ways to check progress. It’s also important to create a feedback loop that takes employee voice into consideration by:
- Creating employee feedback channels like:
- focus groups
- feedback on social media
- online benefit pulse surveys
- benefit-focussed questions in your employee engagement survey
- Measure data from digital channels:
- track intranet data to see:
- how many people visit your reward pages
- how long they spend on each page
- the actions they take
- email open and click-through rates
- programme participation and use
- meeting and event attendance
- track intranet data to see:
No matter how strong your strategy, it will always need tweaking and refining with the benefit of hindsight gained from your measures. This is an ongoing process that will help your benefit communications to continuously improve placing your benefits be front and centre of your employees’ minds.