The $64,000 question
It’s the question that comes up time and time again…
How can we engage our employees in our benefits programme?
Engaged employees are of course more productive than the ones who just turn up for work (and sometimes don’t…) and we know that if an employee benefits programme is designed and communicated in the right way, employee engagement increases.
Which is all very good, but it’s also a bit chicken and egg.
If you have high levels of employee engagement, you’re more likely to succeed in implementing an employee benefits programme and with a great employee benefits programme, you’re more likely to succeed in increasing employee engagement.
I know. A bit of a headache that one. Which comes first? Can you do both at the same time? How do you communicate with our employees? What do you tell them? Is it all worth it? Who cares?
Having a good communications plan is critical to the success of your employee benefits programme. Your HR team will need the skills and expertise of a communications head to work with your ‘People’ people to give your employee benefits programme the best possible chance of being understood, liked and adopted.
An HR and comms team working in tandem is organisational nirvana. HR understand the ‘people’ and talk the language, the comms folk are clever with strategy and tools. It’s the left arm and the right arm of employee engagement.
If they all do the following of course…
You’ve done the hard bit - getting to know your teams well enough to know what type of benefits float their boats. If you don’t know the following then jump back out there and ask – ‘How do you want to be communicated with?’. This can’t be left to guesswork. You need to know or you will fritter away valuable resource banging the wrong drum.
1. Ok, so not everyone LOVES digital technology (but, you know what happened to the dinosaurs…). Yes, there is a place for face-to-face, but we would suggest you make good use of the digital channels at your disposal. Facebook, Twitter (and there are internal comms digital channels such as Tibbr, Yammer and a whole lot of others that you may already be using). Employee benefits apps and digital platforms are making the communication of employee benefits programmes so much easier as it shows everything in a ‘living and breathing’ way rather than the ‘on a piece of paper’ way and it’s easy to see the actual benefit in terms of financial savings and value.
2. Communicate with people as individuals, not as giant group of ‘employees’ and deliver targeted, personal messages (we don’t mean the “I really like what you’ve done with your hair today” sort of thing). We mean the clever stuff that technology allows you to do to tailor messages according to age, stage, seniority and of course in relation to the benefits they have chosen. By doing step 1 (above), you’ll have unearthed how each person wants to be communicated with, so not only will you be able to deliver targeted messages to individual members of your team, you’ll be able to deliver them in the right way. So simple. Really. Honestly.
3. It’s so tempting to pat yourself on the back and say “That was a real success”, in these weeks and months of elation following the blood, sweat and tears you’ve put into getting your employee benefits programme off the ground (there will never be blood, sweat or tears if you’re working with DAM to do that…we promise) and create a false sense of security for yourself and those around you. The idea of placing hands over ears and shouting ‘La la la I can’t hear you…’ can also be tempting. You just want it to work. That’s all. It might just not work the way you want it to right away, so you have to evaluate as you go, and feed your learnings back into the process. Do a quarterly or six monthly survey and look at the hard facts in the cold light of day to give you the opportunity to fine tune your comms plan if it’s not working.
4. Spend time developing your communications strategy to support the implementation of your employee benefits programme and give yourself time to evaluate. Don’t expect too much right away. You’ll need at least a month before you can see adoption across the organisation and at least three months before all employees have a good understanding of what’s being offered to them.
So, don’t give up. It will work, you will have engaged people within your organisation, you’re doing a great job (even if it feels occasionally painful) and smiles will multiply.
Give us a call for a quick chat if you want to talk about reviewing, developing or communicating your employee benefits programme.
We’re DAM good at the whole shebang (and answering $64,000 questions).