From awareness to engagement: optimising communication for employee benefits

In today's rapidly evolving work environment, corporate human resources (HR) and communication professionals need to work closely together to ensure that employees are aware of and understand the valuable employee benefits available to them.

A number of easy to implement employee benefits help safeguard employees' physical, financial, and mental wellbeing, which has arguably never been as important against a backdrop of a low unemployment and high levels of employee concerns about the cost of living and access to support when needed:

  • Group life insurance (supporting employees’ families/dependants if they pass away)

  • Group income protection (supporting the employee – and by extension their families – if they are unable to work in the medium/long-term due to illness or injury)

  • Group critical illness (short term support for the employee upon diagnosis of a serious illness, to mitigate short term financial stress/anxiety)

  • Healthcare protection - (helping employees to take care of their physical and mental health and address any health issues that may arise)

The power of clear communication

These benefits demonstrate to employees that they will be looked after should the unexpected happen. However, simply offering these benefits is not enough. Clear and comprehensive communication regarding an employer’s suite of employee benefits is vital for several reasons. Firstly, it instils trust and confidence in the organisation, highlighting the commitment to employees’ and their financial security and wellbeing. Secondly, it ensures that employees have the necessary information to make informed decisions about their benefits, leading to increased satisfaction and engagement. Lastly, effective communication helps mitigate risks associated with misunderstandings or underutilisation of employee benefits.

Know your audience

To communicate employee benefits effectively, human resources professionals and business owners should ideally have an indepth understanding of employees' needs, preferences, and demographics. Different generations may have distinct priorities and communication preferences, requiring tailored approaches. Using surveys, focus groups, or informal conversations can provide valuable insights into how employees perceive and engage with the company’s employee benefits. By considering employees' perspectives, company’s and HR teams can design benefit and communication strategies that resonate with their target audience and complement each other.

Adopt a multi-channel communication approach

Communication should not be limited to a single channel; instead, it should be diverse and accessible. HR teams will know what channels work best in their organisation and leverage a combination of channels, such as email, intranet portals, digital displays, and social media, to reach employees effectively. Tailoring messages for each channel is essential to ensure consistency while accommodating different communication styles and preferences. Additionally, using multimedia formats, such as videos or infographics, can enhance understanding and engagement.

Keep it simple

Employee benefits can often involve intricate details and technical jargon that can overwhelm employees. Employers should strive to simplify complex information to ensure understanding. Breaking down benefits into digestible segments, using plain language, and providing real-life examples can greatly enhance employees' understanding. Employers can also create frequently asked questions (FAQs), glossaries, or online resources to address common queries and provide further clarity.

Personalise your communication

One size does not fit all when it comes to communication. Segmenting employee groups based on demographics, job roles, or life stages can allow for targeted messaging which can ensure messages are more relatable and engaging. Additionally, sharing success stories or testimonials from employees who have benefited from their employee benefits can inspire others and create a sense of relevance.

Leverage technology for continuous engagement

Technology plays a crucial role in enabling continuous engagement and communication. HR and communication professionals can use digital platforms, such as mobile apps or employee portals, to provide employees with easy access to information about their benefits. Regularly updating these platforms with relevant content, timely reminders, and interactive tools can reinforce understanding and encourage employees to take advantage of their benefits and the often-related additional services.

Offer training and education

Investing in training and education programmes is essential to maximise the impact of employee benefits. HR professionals can organise workshops, webinars, or lunch-and-learn sessions to educate employees about the nuances of different benefits and how to make the most of them. These sessions can be linked to events taking place during a calendar year or an organisation’s financial calendar to help with planning and message alignment. Collaborating with benefit providers or topic-specific experts can enhance the credibility and effectiveness of these initiatives.

Lockton People Solutions help businesses of all sizes define their communication and benefits strategy to design their programmes that reflect their business needs. For more details on our products and services, visit our People Solutions page (opens a new window).