Maximize Your Benefits: Get Employees to Use Them

HR professional marketing employee benefits to workers

The following post was written by Nancy Burlingame, Vice President, Client Relations at Bright Horizons.

All this week, Solutions at Work LIVE is hosting employer discussions about work/life insights and innovative approaches to employee supports. Follow along on Twitter at #SAWLIVE and check back next week for all the news from this Bright Horizons annual event.

Company benefits are only as good as the employees' desire and ability to use them. But creatively communicating to an entire company can be a challenge all its own. It's not surprising, then, that one of the most popular sessions at our annual Solutions at Work Live conference is how to successfully communicate your benefits so people will use them.

For a benefit or work/life program to succeed, it has to be approached not merely as a communication effort, but as a true comprehensive marketing strategy.

Suggestions for Marketing Employee Benefits

Email

This may seem obvious enough, but many companies neglect to remind employees about benefits, assuming (incorrectly) that new hires learned everything they needed to know at their onboarding. Often that information is so overwhelming it's forgotten as quickly as it's obtained.

Mail

Yes, mail. It may seem like a throwback, but eye-catching snail mail to an employee's home has the benefit of giving a tangible reminder of what they have access to. It's also great for service industries (large retailers and call centers, for example) where employees on the front lines often don't have access to a work computer or even a company email address.

The Human Touch

For employees without company email addresses, a designated local or store-specific HR contact should complement written communications by providing a human touchpoint. Such contacts likely use the benefits themselves, which makes their input especially effective. They also have the ability to touch every corner of your organization. At Bright Horizons, we train center directors to use staff meetings and "huddles" to communicate about benefits and how they work.

Face Time

Very often, benefits aren't used because employees don't know they have them or are unclear about how they work. So sending HR reps to regular department meetings can have enormous impact. Such "HR Corners" need only be occasional 10 to 15 minutes every other month to answer questions, announce new changes and additions, and keep benefits top-of-mind.

Testimonials

You already know how success stories speak to prospective clients. Employee benefits works the same way. Got an employee with a great benefits success story? Have them write up their experience for a mass communication or share it a meeting live. Because nothing's more impactful than hearing how a benefit has personally helped someone in need.

Be Creative

Advertising your benefits doesn't have to fit a specific mold. Be creative! Use technology. Leverage the culture of your specific organization. Be bold.

At the end of the day, being innovative and marketing your benefits as you would any other product will get your benefits used. And that's the secret to maximizing benefits. Because while ROI starts with a high-quality program, usage is where you're going to realize the full value of your investment.