Branding and benefits aren’t always something that you think of as going together…but they are completely, inseparably connected.
A “brand” is the gut feeling someone has about your organization. It’s not what YOU say it is...it’s what THEY say it is, whether "they" refers to your customers, your employees, your applicants, or your business partners. Benefits can be a big part of your internal brand and how employees perceive working for your company.
The goal of your internal brand [& branding employee benefits]
The goal of your internal brand is simple: to be known as a great place to work. What better goal is there than this for HR and benefits professionals, and really all organizational leaders?
Your internal brand is equally (if not more) important than how your customers perceive you. Your employees are the front line of your business – they’re the ones interacting with customers, talking about their job to their friends, representing you on social media. How they view see your company and how others will view it are joined at the hip.
Your internal brand is built with every touch point with your employees. Everything – from the application, to benefits communication, to the exit interview – is a chance to influence your internal brand perception.
One of the ass backwards practices at many companies is having multiple departments for every type of communication: marketing, advertising, internal communication, external communications, human resources. There is often little dialogue and collaboration between these internal silos. When it comes to your company, are your many departments speaking with one voice?
What a brand is not
If you approach “branding” as just an ad campaign or a smooth-sounding marketing message, you’re missing the point.
A lot of people will slap a logo on something and say “oh I branded it.” Well you’re not working with cattle. You can’t just put a visual mark on it and then stake a claim to something. If your efforts don’t change the gut feeling of the people you work with, it’s not your brand.
It’s not about hammering employees with messages about how great your company is either – it’s about inspiring and empowering them to share that message for you.
Branding your benefits plan
When most people think of “benefits,” they usually think of one thing – the frustration of open enrollment. Benefits don’t feel like a benefits to people anymore.
Part of this is the way we’re communicating employee benefits. We’re creating complexity, not reducing it, and people are overwhelmed by the choices and all of the details involved. Plan documents are confusing, and people aren't engaged in the health and wellness messages they're receiving.
When this happens, we’re missing a huge chance to use benefits to improve employees’ perception of our company and the things that we’re offering to them.
How does your benefits communication stack up?
How do you think you’re doing when it comes to internal and benefits communication? Are you communicating clearly? Do your employees understand you? Are all of your various communications speaking with one voice? Your people deserve effective communication – especially about something as important as employee benefits!
As a follow up to our recent HNI University event on branding benefits and benefits communication, during the month of July we’re offering a free assessment of your communications in your current state and if applicable, pointing out some areas to improve.