A company may have the most amazing employee benefits offering, but without communicating them in the most effective way, they never will meet their full potential. And for this reason, as reward professionals we need to put as much effort into our communications strategy and approach as we do with our benefits design. Only then can our benefits deliver the expected return on the investment made by the company and meet the needs and expectations of our workforce.
Now I’d like to say that there is a simple answer or a miracle cure for communicating effectively, but unfortunately, I’d be lying! It takes hard work, collaboration and a dash of creativity. However, I do have one word which will help you as you develop your next communications campaign, and that is ‘Impact’. Impact is a six-step communications model I developed to help myself and others understand and action the key steps of effective and impactful communication campaigns.
Before I share the model with you, let me first share six things to keep in mind as you develop your communications:
Think like a marketer, remember that you are ‘selling’ your benefits to your ‘customer’, your employees.
Make the most of every communication ‘touchpoint’ you have, which are all those times you’re already community with your workforce, e.g. newsletters, town hall meetings, inductions.
In addition to touchpoints, consider all communication ‘pathways’ that will help deliver your messages, e.g. TV screens, newsletters, team huddles.
Create a series of bite-sized pieces of information in a Twitter-like format, as this is most likely to ensure engagement.
Tell a story, as storytelling helps to illustrate your point and brings the benefits to life.
Communicate the message repeatedly. Studies suggest that humans forget approximately 50% of new information within an hour of learning it. That goes up to an average of 70% within 24 hours and to 90 percent within one week.
Moving onto the model, here are the six steps. As you read through them, keep in mind that they are not sequential, in fact most take place at the same time and numerous times throughout the process.
I = Investigation
Investigation is about taking the time to uncover and review all of the facts before developing your communications strategy and plan. It is also about using these facts to develop not only your plan but your objectives. By creating objectives from the outset, you will ensure that you have clear and meaningful goals by which to develop and measure your communications.
M = Medium
Medium is about determining which medium(s) are appropriate in order to deliver the most effective communications campaign, whether that be print, live or digital. It is critical to select those which best fit your company’s objectives, culture, demographics and timelines, getting the right mix for your organisation.
P = Planning
Planning is about creating a comprehensive, coordinated and collaborative approach to planning and running your communications campaign. Being clear about what needs to be done by whom and by when, thus ensuring that all timelines and objectives are met.
A = Allies
Allies is about bringing together and working with the right colleagues so that your campaign is run smoothly and effectively. It’s about understanding who are the ‘right’ allies to best deliver on your objectives, and working with them in an effective and efficient manner.
C = Content
Content is about creating messages and graphics which ‘stick’, meaning they will encourage your employees to take the time to read, think and behave differently. This is done by creating content which is valuable, relevant and consistent, and it is also about understanding if or when you need to segment the content to appeal to a variety of audiences.
T = Testing
Testing is about collecting data which can demonstrate the effectiveness of your communications campaign, and thus the ROI (return on investment) to your business. It is also about using the data throughout the campaign to adjust or update to drive effectiveness.
For further information, please contact:
Katherine Gunningham, Employee Benefits Communications Manager