According to a recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an employer benefits package accounts for 30 percent of an employee’s total compensation for the year; communicating the intricacies and components of that package is both incredibly important and mind-numbingly complicated. Every year, while your employees try to get their work done, you interrupt their day to explain this complicated but vital component; odds are, they are tuning out. If you rely on the tools of the past, you won’t get the best employees in the future. Let’s take a look at how you can change the situation.
The benefit statement has always been a vital tool when discussing company benefits, yet these dense, complicated documents filled with legal terms in small print have glazed over the eyes of many an employee in the past, and they are almost impossible to comprehend without a legal degree or 10-years experience in the benefits industry. Very little of the report will be retained; in fact recent studies have shown people can only focus for seven minutes at a time.
The typical American worker is overworked and distracted; in the digital era, employees check their emails and cell phones 150 times a day and work longer despite wanting to work fewer hours. You might think sending an HR rep to discuss benefits will seize your employees’ attention, but you may not get the reaction you seek; even if employees attend the meeting, they’ll probably be thinking about the report that is due, their Facebook status, or one of a dozen other things. These meetings simply waste time, money, and add yet another distraction to your employees’ day.
Your employees are always online; if you want to educate your staff about employee benefits, you need to engage them digitally. By creating a dedicated website for your employees to learn about their benefits, you accommodate their schedule, not the other way around. Additionally, you reach the secondary audience at home who appreciate the benefits you provide to their family. You can post custom-created videos that explain the benefits in plain language and speak to the pride of being a member of your team, all of which makes your employees and their families feel secure and appreciated. Then, when they are prepared to make their choices of benefits, they’ll find the all the links and information they need to guide them through the process, minimizing stress and mistakes.
Creating a site like this is effective, but it can be costly, time consuming and difficult to achieve in-house. Turn to the experts, instead. Projections has decades of experience creating dedicated sites that truly connect with employees. Reach out to Projections by clicking here, and stop letting 30% of your compensation package go in one ear and out the other! Becoming an employer of choice is easy when you have the tools to demonstrate all your Company offers.
Today’s workforce is the most diverse it’s ever been, with employees at large and small companies coming from many different backgrounds and spanning multiple generations. It’s an exciting time, but also one that means employers are tasked with finding new and more efficient ways to connect and communicate with employees.
The one word that summarizes the future of employee communication is customization. Employers need to customize material, training programs and overall communication to specific audiences to make sure their business runs as smoothly as possible. Here are some examples of how customization can help out in the workplace.
Custom-Crafted Employee Video
Far from the cheesy training videos from the past, today’s custom video creations are fun, inspiring, and not just consistent, but consistently effective. Consider custom video for your message, particularly if you have employees who speak a variety of languages and you need them all to get the same information. Additionally, with the ability to place your video message online, you can reach additional audiences as needed, including employees’ families. This is a great plan if you’re making changes to your benefits plan or if the company is relocating or announcing other big changes. Creating a positive feeling around change can go a long way toward acceptance of that change.
Custom Employee-focused Websites
Creating a powerful and effective employee website can be a challenge, and maintaining it is another proposition altogether. But customization is key – it’s no longer enough to just piggy-back off third party resources – as an employer of choice, your company has to provide customized resources that connect with employees and the all-important secondary audience at home. Creating password-protected sites that protect your company and your employees from outside interference is a great way to inspire trust and confidence in the resources you’re providing online. Including information on the state of your business, your union-free philosophy, Human Resources, and employee benefits is an important part of keeping a happy and healthy workforce. Custom-created websites allow you to keep the content fresh, interesting and relevant, making the information meaningful to employees.
Custom-crafted eLearning Programs
Not nearly as expensive today as they once were, custom-crafted interactive eLearning programs can help you create a sense of community among your employees, as your training and information instantly becomes consistent and spot-on with content employees and managers need. Interactive eLearning can engage your employees, bolster communication and build solid communication across geography, time zones, varying shifts, different jobs – everyone engages in the same way and learns the material you need them to know. Compliance tracking can provide you with the knowledge you need to make sure your eLearning is doing its job.
Custom Messaging through Social Media
Creating social media groups that let employees share information with each other and managers in a more relaxed and comfortable way can be another great method of improving employee relations. The purpose of social media is to build communities and facilitate interaction. (Check out our previous post on this topic, with some great insight, here!) You can use private Facebook groups to share news about your company and start new conversations or to recognize employees for their accomplishments, and you can use Twitter to communicate fast, short updates to your employees.
Employee communication is more important now than ever. Learn how to customize your interactions with employees to ensure they are happy and feel valued by your company.
Your company’s benefits package is a critical element in the recruitment and retention of a quality workforce, but if your employees don’t understand their benefits, your organization is losing out on the actual, well, benefit of providing a benefits package in the first place!
To get the most out of your company’s investment in these rewards, it’s critical that you communicate your benefits to your employees – and we’re not talking a once a year, droning HR meeting with a sleepy Powerpoint and a stack of take-homes, nosireebob. We’re talking about a fully strategized, year-round effort to communicate, update and generally remind employees about the perks of working with your organization. Basically? This should be an in-house PR campaign, with you taking the lead.
But it takes too much time!
But our budget is too small!
Yes, we know. We’re all being stretched every which way and money is tighter than it’s ever been. That’s why it’s so incredibly important to take stock of the time and finances you do have available for Benefits Communication and USE THEM WISELY.
If you want your employees to actively engage with their rewards, you have to be actively engaged as well. According to a 2012 study, conducted by a North American communications strategy company, just 29% of employers communicate with their employees about benefits year-round – and yet, of those who do, 84% go on to meet all or nearly all of their communications goals for the year. Not bad stats.
Which brings us almost seamlessly to the idea of setting communications goals for the year, as in, this is something you really should do. It doesn’t have to be a big deal – just a list of four or five things that you would like to achieve and how you can measure your success.
Assess Your Communication Methods
A 2014 study conducted in the UK showed that 86% of the companies they surveyed relied on printed materials to communicate with their staff about compensation and benefits. But while printed materials may look great, they are notoriously expensive, they take time to create (which all but eliminates the opportunity for spontaneous communication) and with print, companies also likely incur additional costs for material distribution.
Other traditional pathways for communication include in-person meetings, which drain productivity and travel budgets for many companies and e-mail, which, while inexpensive, might not allow you to be as in-depth or personalized as you might like.
We’re talking video, websites, e-Learning, social media, targeted text messages, even smart phone and tablet apps – these are all responsive, affordable communications options, and ones your workforce will be able to engage with whenever they need it, and on their own time. Technologies like these make it easy for you to reach out clearly and often to your workforce, without ever having to buy a single stamp.
Your Best Bet?
Combine methods. Cross the streams. Get strategic! Invest your time and your budget in a combination of traditional and modern communications methods to engage your employees and keep them engaged.
Projections is here to help you create a custom benefits communication strategy for your workforce – and, if you like, we’ll even manage it for you, too! Contact Projections today to see how we can help you find solutions to your trickiest communication challenges!