Research conducted at the University of California found that the average person consumes the equivalent of 34GB of information every day. The research found that we are subjected to 105,000 words a day, or 23 words per second within a 12-hour period each day.
We might not process every single one of these words, images, sounds, or media, but this is the kind of noise effective communications need to cut through.
Add to this, many HR professionals are under increased workloads. This is both a good and a bad thing, as it means a more influential seat at the table where big business decisions are made, but it also makes managing challenges like employee communications much harder.
There’s also the threat of increased employee churn to consider. Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index found that 40% of employees are considering leaving their employer in the next year.
This makes effective employee benefits communications even more important. Good communications will help drive engagement with your benefits, create a better employee experience and help your business build and maintain a strong and effective team.
Hybrid working communications challenges
Whether it’s remote or hybrid working, internal communications have been a challenge for HR in recent times.
Without the usual workplace chat, it’s been harder to generate a buzz around new employee benefits or the opening of scheme windows.
There’s less chance of employees asking their colleague a quick question in the workplace about an employee benefit or telling a positive story of a good experience with your benefits.
While posters, handouts, and marketing materials are still a useful form of employee benefits communication, they might be seen a little less now employees aren’t in the workplace as often.
With all this in mind, a different approach to employee benefits communication is needed.
The value of effective employee benefits communications
Good employee benefits communication can support a number of key HR goals and KPI’s.
Effective communication can increase the perceived value of employee benefits at little or no cost.
When engagement with employee benefits isn’t quite where a company wants it to be, often the first port of call is to overhaul the benefits, survey employees to get their feedback on the benefits, or remove benefits altogether.
Often employees aren’t actually aware or educated enough on the benefits on offer, and what is actually needed is an overhaul of the approach to employee benefits communications.
Improved employee engagement, satisfaction, loyalty, and retention can all come from improved employee benefits communication through increased use of benefits and an improved employee experience as a result.
There are also the advantages your employees gain from making the most of their employee benefits. The more employees utilise your financial wellbeing and health and wellbeing benefits, for example, the more they’ll improve their finances and their health which has huge knock-on effects for them and the business.
So, how do you improve your employee benefits communications in a hybrid working environment?
Use a centralised platform or portal
Investing in an employee benefits platform is worth its weight in gold. There are tons of features and functionalities in a purpose-built platform that can make delivering and administrating employee benefits easier and more effective.
In terms of employee benefits communications, a platform can help in a number of ways.
When an employee looks for information about an employee benefit, in the workplace they might ask a colleague or pop round to see HR for a quick answer.
While this can still be done by employees in a hybrid working model, it’s not quite as easy as it once was.
With a platform, employees have 24/7, instant access to all the information they need about their benefits and content can usually be tailored to suit the common questions your employees are asking about schemes.
A platform can host FAQs, posters, handouts, and other marketing material to give employees all the information they need.
Having information available instantly and during out-of-office hours makes your benefits much more easily accessible and is hugely important in driving uptake and benefits engagement.
A platform can host email templates too to help promote schemes to employees.
A platform can also help keep your employee benefits communications short and sweet by hosting all the key information on the platform, meaning communications can be kept engaging and personalised.
On top of all this, hosting all your benefits on one platform means the better your employee benefits communication is at encouraging employees to utilise your benefits, the more engagement it will drive with other benefits too as they’re all hosted in the same place.
All these features and more are available on our Salary Extras employee benefits platform. Find out more here.
Email is one of the most preferred methods of employee benefits communication and has become even more important with remote and hybrid working.
As mentioned, email templates can be included as part of a dedicated platform which can make this form of communication even easier and more effective.
However, the amount of communication we receive on a daily basis means that even emails sent internally must be carefully considered.
Personalised communications here are important. Many companies segment their employee-base up and communicate with each segment according to their typical wants and needs relating to benefits, which is a great way to personalise employee benefits communications.
In a hybrid working scenario, email communication is still hugely important but must be combined with other forms of benefits communication to be as effective as possible in educating employees and grabbing their attention.
Physical marketing is still highly effective
With hybrid working, when employees are in the workplace posters and physical materials like handouts and flyers are great for not just reminding employees of the employee benefits available to them but generating conversation and positive word of mouth too.
Adding social proof to your physical marketing is great for helping spread word of mouth. Include examples of how employees have utilised your employee benefits and short, snappy quotes that communicate the advantages of your employee benefits quickly and succinctly.
Physical materials are great for seasonal communications too. Festive posters and handouts promoting employee discounts for example are highly effective in the late Autumn and Winter.
Education through virtual workshops
Often a face-to-face or more human approach to employee benefits communications is required.
One of the benefits of remote and hybrid working and virtual meetings is that your benefits suppliers may be more inclined to provide workshops on how your benefits work with employees.
Your scheme suppliers are the experts and will be able to give advice and answer any number of questions your employees may have about certain schemes.
Adopting different approaches to how you communicate your benefits is key to cutting through all the noise your employees experience on a daily basis. More personal approaches like virtual workshops can help with this.
Survey your employees and get a quick idea of how many would sign up for a webinar or workshop for different schemes to gauge interest. Then speak to your supplier about providing more education.
A platform can help make sessions like these more interactive too. Employees can log on to their platform and browse through the scheme information (or application process where applicable) and get a better feel for the employee benefit.
One final tip we’ve got is to consider the big challenges your employees are facing right now and how your employee benefits can help.
For example, increased NHS waiting times and delayed procedures have been in the news recently leaving many searching for alternative healthcare options.
On the back of this, Private Medical Insurance (PMI) could provide that alternative, your employees may just not know about it. This is where your employee benefits communications come in.
The property market is another area that’s been hugely affected by the pandemic. In the first quarter of 2021, mortgage completions by movers were up by 82 percent. Could your employee discounts help employees moving house with new furniture?
These are just two small examples but in reality, there are lots of ways your employee benefits can help staff in their daily lives, they may be just needed that nudge that your communications can give them.
Yes, HR has a huge amount on its plate at the moment with increased pressure and workloads. However, effective employee benefits communications are crucial in a remote or hybrid working world where employees are quite rightly demanding that employers support them in numerous areas of their lives. You know your benefits can help; your communications are the final piece of the puzzle.