“If you build it, they will come.” Sure, it’s one of the more memorable lines in movie history. But it’s terrible business advice, whether you’re talking about a startup company, a new location of a retail store or restaurant, or employee benefits.
If you don’t tell people what’s available, they don’t know it exists. That’s why the U.S. spends $180 billion a year on advertising.
Benefits are one of the biggest operating expenses of any business. But are you getting the maximum value out of that investment?
It makes sense, both financially and in terms of recruitment and retention, to encourage employees to take advantage of the benefits you spend so much on. Consider the following:
- 38% of global employers report difficulty filling jobs, according to a 2015 survey by the Manpower Group.
- 96% of workers who are satisfied with their benefits also say they are extremely/very satisfied with their job, according to the 2016 Aflac Workforces Report.
- Companies with no communications strategy are three times more likely to lose high-potential talent, according to 2016 data from Aptitude Research Partners.
- The same data showed a strong link between communications and both employee engagement and positive candidate experience. Among employers with a communications strategy in place, 78% report improved employee experience and 82% reported improved candidate experience in the past year.
If you offer a competitive benefits package, you’re already most of the way there. You just need a plan to communicate those benefits that factors in best practices, such as:
- Communicate year round, not just at open enrollment.
- Include voices from leadership to convey sponsorship and model desired behaviors.
- Use a variety of tactics to appeal to different kinds of learners (e.g., email, print, video, face-to-face meetings, webinars, etc.)
- Emphasize the WIIFM (“What’s In It For Me) – that is, put it in terms that resonate with employees’ needs, not the company’s.
- Keep it simple by using clear, straightforward messages and calls to action. Don’t dump every single thing you want employees to know in one email. Avoid jargon or overly complex scenarios.
You’ve already taken the ball to the one-yard line. A communications plan is the push you need to get into the end zone. Find more tips on creating a good plan by downloading our white paper, Educating Employees About Their Benefits: A Six-Step Approach. You can also take a look at some of the ways we’ve helped clients unlock the value of their benefits programs in our online portfolio.