Company cars are one of the most sought after employee benefits making them critical to attraction and retention. Senior employees will expect a car as part of their overall package as will those who travel long distances for their role. Then there are the employees who’d like the convenience of an all-inclusive car package at great rates via salary sacrifice arrangements. That’s three audiences for one benefit. So getting your communications right is key. This guide explains how.
Pre-launch communications are critical to your new car benefit scheme
If you’re introducing a car benefit scheme to all staff for the first time, you need to build momentum ahead of the launch. You can do this by engaging your people with the scheme in advance through:
- Employee surveys and focus groups to help shape the programme
- Roadshows to showcase the cars available and answer employee questions
- A pre-launch communications campaign across multiple channels to spread the word
Feedback surveys also work well for existing company car holders as they get the option to feed back on their existing car benefit helping you to improve your scheme as it’s extended to others. And roadshows provide company car drivers with the opportunity to see new makes and models and to understand the value of the benefit that the company provides.
By building excitement and expectation, you’ll be setting the wheels in motion for a successful programme. But that’s just the start: the pre-launch needs to be followed up with a big bang.
Aligning communications with demographics and business values
A one-size fits all approach might work for some businesses but if you have a range of employees across different roles and locations you’ll need to provide a variety of communications in multiple ways.
For example, many London-based employees will commute to work on public transport so you’ll need to communicate the value of a car benefit scheme in a different way. Highlighting issues like congestion and ultra-low emission zone charges and recommending green cars as an alternative could work well.
Also, if some of your workforce doesn’t have access to a computer, like many manufacturing employees, you’ll need to take an offline approach to their comms. Printing materials and placing them in canteens or break out areas as well on notice boards or even do a post drop to home addresses will work well.
Whatever your demographics and methods of communicating, your messaging should be tailored to meet the needs of different employee populations. For some, messages about saving money will be more effective, while others might find the convenience of an all-inclusive car package most attractive.
Your employee survey will help you identify why people want cars so you can craft compelling messaging that will hit the spot.
You also need to blend your company values with your car scheme set up and communications. If your business is concerned about environmental impact you could survey staff to understand perceptions about capping the CO2 emissions of cars. If this is something your people and business want this is a great message to communicate as part of your plans.
Don’t forget to remove company car drivers from car benefit scheme communications when using digital channels like email as they’re simply not relevant.
With all these elements covered, create a big bang communications plan to launch your scheme. Then get ready to answer the inevitable questions.
Planning sustained communications
With your launch out of the way, it’s important to ensure you sustain communications and interest in your scheme throughout the year. Don’t forget - not everyone will have been in a position to take up your car benefit, so it makes sense to keep communicating about the scheme so people are reminded to take advantage when they can.
Research from Google identifies several consideration steps in the journey to taking up a new car:
- Which car is best?
- Is it right for me?
- Can I afford it?
- Where should I buy it?
- Am I getting a deal?
Your communications need to answer all these concerns through a combination of communications and your car benefit provider’s technology. Look out for suppliers with online search tools that make comparing makes, models and costs clear.
If you’re stuck for ideas about what to say, here are some great ways to engage your staff with a car benefit scheme:
- Showcase positive experiences from existing drivers on your intranet using videos or case studies
- Put up posters or use TV screens to promote the most impactful messages like enhanced cost savings through salary sacrifice, all-inclusive convenience or saving the planet with green cars
- Explain the practicalities of taking up a car - Q&A documents work well to explain and overcome potential barriers to benefit take up and they explain why company car benefit scheme tend to beat dealer options hands down
- Communicate your provider’s promotions and incentives to spotlight your programme and increase take up
By positively reinforcing the programme and dealing with objections, you’ll keep the scheme in people’s minds making it far more likely that your staff will take up a benefit car when there's heads off to the scrap heap.
When staff are regularly bombarded with car dealer offers, your communications are critical to keeping your car benefit scheme front and centre. But you’re not in it alone. Work with your provider to prepare ongoing communications that will appeal to your staff and ensure your car benefit programme is first choice when the time is right.