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Six tips to engage employees with changes to their benefits

Xexec is no stranger to changes in human resources systems. In fact, our platforms and services are often the catalyst for such changes. Our account managers and technical teams have helped countless companies — from single office SMEs through to multinationals with offices all around the globe — deliver innovative voluntary benefits solutions for their staff.

Working with these firms has taught us a great deal about how organisations should communicate changes to their employees. We’ve outlined the most valuable insights we’ve gathered for you below.

Develop a Plan
The most effective organisational change communications are closely linked to thorough communications plans. This plan should be developed in conjunction with your overall change management plan, early on in the project delivery schedule. The size and scope of your plan will depend on the size of your workforce, but as a minimum should cover:

  • Key messages for staff
  • Key outcomes and actions desired from communications
  • Available communications channels
  • Timelines for delivery, and
  • Feedback and reporting mechanisms.

Take a Multi Channel Approach
Most organisations have access to a number of different communications channels, from the digital like email and the intranet to offline solutions like noticeboards. The most effective communications strategies take advantage of all channels as this increases the number of times each employee engages with the message.

You should tailor the content to maximise the effectiveness of each channel. For example, a poster for communal areas should have different content to an email sent directly to staff. While the content will be different, ensure that the key message is consistent across each channel.

Make Every Interaction Relevant
Short, sharp communications are more engaging and more likely to drive employees to complete the desired call to action. Most employees don’t need to know every aspect of the change — they’ll just want to know how it will impact them. Avoid overloading your staff with the business case, industry benchmarks or facts and figures, regardless of their relevance. There are staff who will want to see this information so it should be included on an intranet site or similar, but it is overkill for the majority of employees and therefore should not be spelled out in all materials.

Include a Call To Action
Your communications should do more than explain the new process or platform. They should engage the employee and encourage them to take action, whether that’s to update their profile, read the new policy or sign on to the new programme. Don’t leave it to employees to guess what you want from them. Ensure that the desired call to action is clear and simple.

Encourage Feedback
The most effective communications strategies create conversations that engage and include individual employees. Make sure staff know that their concerns, questions and suggestions are valued. Provide multiple opportunities for staff to voice their opinions. We’ve seen intranet forums, question and answer sessions, private social media pages and one-to-one email used to create lively, positive discussion.

Measure and Review
This won’t be the last change that your organisation will need to communicate to staff. Take the time to review the effectiveness of your strategy, both immediately after the campaign and three to six months down the track. This will allow you to determine whether the communications affected a lasting change in behaviour. Make sure any insights and learnings are documented so they can be incorporated into communications planning for the next campaign.

It is important to keep your employees informed of all changes to their employee benefits package. To increase employee engagement through any change, take the time to develop a communications plan that uses multiple vehicles to deliver concise, consistent messages with an unambiguous call to action.

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