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Disillusionment over employee benefits communication

David Pugh

Industry professionals are disillusioned with employee benefits communication; at best they rate it as mediocre and at worst terrible, says David Pugh, managing partner at Lemonade Reward.

His comments follow recent interviews with HR, benefit and reward specialists* who were asked to score their in-house programmes from five (excellent) to one (terrible); 87 percent rated them between three and one and the same number indicated their employees would do the same. Feedback to the employee benefits firm shows the key challenge is getting the right messages to the right people, followed by thinking of new ways to communicate benefits, lack of resource and budget constraints. Long sign-off processes, out of date software and finding new/innovative benefits are also issues.

“A further hurdle” suggests David “is a failure to measure the effectiveness of their employee benefits communications. If they did so, they could act upon the results.” Forty three per cent concede they can’t remember or they’ve never measured their activity and 27 percent advise it’s been within the last year. When asked about the most favoured channels of communication, respondents cited email and intranet, followed by face-to-face and letters. Social media, micro-sites and videos ranked ahead of the phone and other vehicles such as posters and washroom advertisements. When asked to describe their employee communication style, 40 percent gave the top answer traditional- only 7 percent consider their style creative and 3 percent interactive.

David continues: Despite advances in technology and flexible working, employers do not appear to be moving with the times. We have whole generations who now access and share information via tablets and mobiles, yet employers fail to e-enable their benefits packages and develop apps which work on these bring your own devices.”

He concludes: “While it’s encouraging to find respondents are keen to review their programmes – 87 percent do this at least yearly – if they aren’t communicating their rewards in a way that resonates with employees, their efforts will be wasted. Our interviews show there’s a clear desire to move employee benefits communication up a gear and make it more innovative and engaging – the tools are there to do so, so what’s everybody waiting for?”

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