Catherine Park: How to involve staff in benefits

There are a number of ways in which employers can increase employee engagement in relation to employee benefits, with internal communication strategies fundamental to the process. 

These should be based on employee research to enable employers to find out what benefits their staff value. Employee surveys can help identify these preferences, but is important for employers not to rely on just one method of communication, such as email surveys, because a proportion of staff will not participate.

Employers can instead consider using focus groups and desktop pop-up surveys, while intranet sites and internal social networking tools are useful ways to promote the research.

Social media sites are useful in enabling employers to sustain the feedback and get snapshots of employees’ current views, establish levels of awareness and understanding of a particular benefit, or enable employees to ask questions and make suggestions.

Employers can enhance employee engagement by reinforcing what their organisation stands for, and what this means for them. For this reason, it is important for employers to show how benefits are linked to overall organisational values. This helps to support a holistic employer-employee relationship, rather than creating a situation in which either party simply focuses on the details of individual benefits.

Finding opportunities to summarise all benefits together and highlight the actual value of benefits is another important way for employers to help employees get the full picture, as are compelling messages and clear, jargon-free language telling employees what they need to know.

Finally, it is a good idea for employers to shake things up a bit with something a little out of the ordinary in terms of the overall campaign, channel, design or strapline. A garden theme created by Thomsons Online Benefits to promote Danone UK’s online employee benefits portal, accentuating the organisation as a ‘great place to grow’, is a case in point.

Catherine Park is PR and marketing manager at the Institute of Internal Communication