Workplace communication: how to tell employees what's on offer
There is no point in working hard to provide valuable employee benefits if staff don't know what's on offer. Here's how employers can get the message across.
When it comes to communicating employee benefits, it's essential that the employer knows what they want to achieve. It might be higher take up, better return on investment (ROI) and improved HR metrics.
But one of the most important lessons is also the most simple: get the basics right. These guidelines for employers can help.
Find out the facts - employee benefits can only contribute towards the performance of a business and its workforce if they are properly understood. Before exhausting resources trying to endorse your benefits, find out what your employees already know and are aware of.
A high proportion of employees can be unaware of the benefits available to them. For example, Unum's Workplace Communication Blueprint shows that 37% of the 1,000 people surveyed didn't know if their company offered Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs)¹. Armed with this knowledge, you can tailor your future communications to the benefits that are missing the mark, telling employees what is available and how exactly it can help them.
Face-to-face - When it comes to improving communication of workplace benefits, there really is no replacement for face-to-face contact.
Most likely, your firm has some kind of regular company meeting, or perhaps a system of staff forums or focus groups. (And if it doesn't, then perhaps it should!)
The Blueprint suggests that adding company benefits to the agenda of these gatherings is a good way to "provide colour" to employee benefits communications².
Informal, frequent reminders to staff about the benefits available to them adds positively to meetings. It's also a good way to bring to light any issues around communications and benefits - and to address them.
ROI and staff turnover - Measuring the ROI of employee benefits can be a difficult proposition with many subjective aspects to engagement.
A more objective measure of effectiveness could be to track staff turnover. Benefits are there to engage and support workers so should encourage more staff to progress their careers within the company - retaining the best talent.
There are different ways of expressing staff turnover. One way is to work it out as a percentage. Measure that figure on a monthly/quarterly basis and track the results over time and any trends as the communication strategy (or benefits package) evolves.
It may be hard to put a precise monetary value on employee benefits, but the cost of staff turnover is easier to measure. An Oxford Economics report, commissioned by Unum in 2014 put the cost of bringing a new person at £5,433. In addition, the missed revenue as a result of lower productivity during the bedding-in time is £25,182. It means the average total cost of recruitment per employee is a huge £30,614³.
It's clear that holding on to your people is key. So if you are already offering employee benefits, make sure you are communicating them clearly and often to drive engagement, and ensure maximum return on your investment.
Employee engagement - Employee benefits will only go so far if a workforce isn't engaged. Consider the atmosphere in your workplace. Is there a buzz of activity? Are you doing enough to encourage career fulfilment for staff?
¹Unum (2017) Workplace Communication Blueprint, p8
²Unum (2017) Workplace Communication Blueprint, p10
³Oxford Economics (2014) The Cost of Brain Drain