November 1st marks the beginning of open enrollment season for a majority of U.S. organizations, and we thought it would be timely to look at some startling stats and the latest trends in employee benefit communications.
The good news is this: Employee Benefits have high positive impact on talent attraction and retention:
• 92% of full-time employees believe that companies that offer nontraditional benefits are more likely to recruit top-tier talent (ICIMS)
• 88% of executives agree that benefit programs have the most impact on improving employee loyalty as well as increasing employee engagement and lowering company medical costs (Wells Fargo)
• 75% of employees reported they’re more likely to stay with their employer because of their benefit program (Willis Towers Watson)
• 62% of employees under 50 wouldn’t consider working for a company that didn’t offer voluntary benefits (BenefitsPro)
• 35% of millennials have turned down job offers because they were dissatisfied with the benefits (Anthem)
Though employee benefits are becoming more costly for employers to offer, it’s great to see that they are a worthwhile and well-appreciated expenditure, particularly given the competition for talent and the millennials’ propensity for job hopping and freelancing. Offering a flexible and diverse set of benefits can really be a differentiator, particularly for small and medium-sized companies.
So how can you make sure you’re realizing the maximum impact from your efforts
Different generations in the workplace have different preferences for how they want to receive their information and in many cases, the person responsible for evaluating the different plans and options is not even your employee. Make sure you appeal to each of your audiences by crafting a combination of digital and traditional materials that can be accessed at home and work across a variety of platforms. Provide real-time text updates or the opportunity to downloadable digital assets (worksheets, PDFs, presentations) from a benefits microsite that can be accessed from your intranet, or through an easy-to-remember, password-protected URL (www.mycompanybenefits.com). Hang posters, send emails and postcards and display signage in the cafeteria, digital screens, lockers and gyms.
Remember, you are talking to people. They may have health considerations, financial concerns and families to consider. Their native language isn’t always English. If you’re a benefits administrator, make sure you keep it simple, employing less copy and more visuals, including infographics. Define terms, use FAQ sheets, tutorials, worksheets and videos to ensure that people are opting for the best choices for their situation, vs the ones that initially seem to cost less, or that they may be most familiar with.
Each of us are bombarded with thousands of messages each day so make sure that your benefit communications are breaking through the clutter. Consider a theme or foundational message that you tie to everything. Add a logo. Put a sparkle in your emails by using attention-getting subject lines. Make sure that the envelopes you send home are colorful, clearly marked and iconic. Hold contests and competitions and give away prizes for accomplishing sprints by location or department.
According to an International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans survey, 80% of participants do not open/read materials and 49% don’t understand them. Use the business case and simple strategies to reverse the trend, improve your results and build your talent brand through benefits.
It is no surprise that Employee Engagement is a growing concern for business leaders. Especially when Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report informs that only 33% of employees are engaged in their job and a massive 51% are actively looking for new employment. Research from Bain and Company revealed some other pretty interesting statistics about companies and engagement:
1. Lower level employees have lower levels of engagement.
Problem: High-level management may be out of touch with employee morale on the front lines.
2. As tenure increases, engagement levels decrease.
Problem: Those with the most knowledge and experience to contribute are uninspired to do so.
3. Engagement levels are lowest for sales and service people.
BIG Problem: These are the same individuals who are most likely to interact with your customers!
Talent branding usually involves conducting primary research with your employees – different from an engagement survey, the research uncovers the emotive qualities that prevail within your culture. At times, just giving employees an open forum to discuss issues, vent annoyances (even the most petty) and feel like they’ve been heard goes a long way towards building engagement.
At the completion of the discovery process, following the analysis of the information, you will have what we call the Talent Brand Architecture. It will include a statement about the collective work being done, the things that make the culture unique and appealing (yes, there are always things to say) and the Employer Value Proposition – the passionate and authentic expression of the experience you hope people will associate with your company as an employer.
Bringing employees together to introduce your talent brand architecture, rewarding them for their contributions in creating it and recognizing them for their allegiance to sharing it will also revive their passion for what they love about where they work.
The bottom line:
Employee Engagement doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s a strategic, thoughtful and continuous process intentionally designed to build bonds, repair trust, and shine a light on how everyone makes a difference through their efforts at work.
Similarly Talent Branding doesn’t happen in a creative department, in a recruitment video or on a career site. It is ever present as an opportunity to ask questions, and shape what is said, shared and thought.
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Book Jody for a talent brand consultation, or find out more about her speaking engagements and availability.
Always be Branding
Create A Comprehensive Story, Theme and Outline
What is the primary message you want to communicate? Is it investment in R&D? Growth over many years? Change in direction? Solid leadership? Defining this is key to creating an outline for the report and inspiring a visual interpretation.
Communicate with Design. Reinforce the Brand.
The overall look and feel of the piece should not only be consistent with your company or organization’s brand, but it should enhance your theme. What key colors will illustrate your brand and report theme? What format will best communicate your theme: print or online? What style of photography and imagery will you use: high-end, abstract, illustrations and schematics, or real-world photos of people or applications?
Demonstrate your commitment to the environment by working with printers who employ ecologically responsible paper, ink, and waste print production processes. Here, the media truly becomes the message, expressed in the content of the document and in the production of the report itself.
Some options you may consider:
• Forest Stewardship Council Certified Production
• Soy/Vegetable Based Inks and Coatings
• Recycled Paper
• Recycling Extra Reports
Design Pop and Rhythm.
The report’s design and narrative style needs to establish a visual vocabulary and cadence from page to page that keeps investors moving through the book while generating an emotional response. Readers need to understand how vital the company is to the world—customers, employees, communities, etc. They need to know your firm is special.
Once all the elements are in place, continue to ensure a quality product through diligent proofreading, production, and print management.
We Predict that More Technology will be Embedded within Annual Reports
Online annual reports are the future of compliance communications. By providing shareholders with online disclosure information, companies are bridging more disclosure gaps than ever before. They are able to provide more information more quickly effectively, allowing access to shareholders and potential investors. One of our favorite trends is the use of AR to create an immersive experience across a variety of devices and platforms.
One final note- along with presenting your company in the best possible way to investors, your annual report is also an excellent opportunity to engage and recognize your employees (many of whom are also shareholders) in their achievements and efforts in realizing your business outcomes.
It’s easy for for companies to say that employees are their greatest assets, or most valuable resource, but actually constructing a culture that values the individual experience is significantly more difficult.
At the highest level, it’s about forging the connection an employee feels not only towards their place of work, but the company at large. This in turn, influences his or her work ethic and overall attitude towards peers, clients, management, and even health and well-being.
In fact, it’s proven that employees who feel more connected with their company and peers take fewer sick days, are more productive in the office, and tend to act as brand ambassadors for the company’s strategic initiatives.
So it’s no coincidence that as a Talent Brand Planner, I’d be interested in Employee Engagement and the Employee Experience. Culture-fit, great management and belief in the organization’s mission are the table stakes, but what else does employee engagement encompass? We think it includes things like:
• Developing a high-performance culture that fosters a high-level of employee commitment
• Differentiating your compensation and offerings to better attract and retain talent with culture as a key driver
• Developing future leaders by mentoring high-potential employees
• Creating a robust total rewards package that recognizes efforts, experience and contributions
But what are we missing?
Who owns employee engagement?
Is employee experience the same, better or part of employee engagement.
These are the questions we at Brandemix are setting out to answer in the hopes that through our findings, we can deliver greater authenticity to the Talent Brand.
Help us and our followers add value to our work by taking this brief Employee Engagement survey.
Oh, and did I mention you could win prizes?
The gig economy has been on the rise for long time, but what exactly is it?
As you may know, many Americans these days aren’t traditionally employed as in years past. Some blame the economy while others cite the increase of Millennials in the workforce, but regardless of cause, the truth is this: more people than ever before are choosing to balance their work, life and interests through taking on temp jobs, side-jobs and/or short-term assignments.
Because of this, employers are finding themselves in a uniquely 21st century predicament…how do they attract and retain top talent in a short-term world?
It may serve you well to first considers whether you’d like to appeal to those seeking a new way of life and livelihood.
Determine Your Talent Philosophy.
Explore your organization’s appetite for hiring the best person for the job, knowing you may only have them for less than a year. Is that better for business, or should you look to move forward with a candidate less talented who may remain for a longer tenure?
There is no right or wrong answer.
The answer is not as important as having an answer because trying too hard to market the position to 100% of job seekers may lead to hiring someone who isn’t necessarily the right fit.
Regardless of whether you’re seeking to fill a long or short-term position, it’s essential to be completely transparent about your expectations.
Market the Drivers of Attraction.
Many top-tier companies are offering benefits like unlimited sick days, a fully-stocked kitchen, or commuter reimbursements to attract outstanding employees. Yes, this might require a large company budget, but even if you’re financially unable to compete with huge corporations, even seemingly small perks may make a potential candidate consider an opportunity that they may have otherwise skimmed over.
In this gig-economy, professionals are looking to set their own hours and craft a schedule around what works for their lifestyle. Typical roles generally may not offer that amount of freedom, but employers of choice are realizing that perks and flexibility is a big factor in what will attract and retain high-level talent.
Find Your Thought-Leading Champions for a New Way of Life.
If you are an organization that can truly embrace and adapt to a new way of thinking for the new ways of working, this will be a great differentiator, and should be a pillar of your talent brand.
Is your Chief Technology Officer onboard? Let people know. Is your organization looking to make it a unique career-building experience for those who join for however long? Have your CEO become a brand-building spokesperson.
Early adopters will reap the benefits of the Free-Agent Marketplace.
Want more advice? Get in touch.