A “brand” is the gut feeling people have about something. What is the brand of your benefits package? What would your employees really say if you asked them how they feel about their benefits?
Benefits don’t feel like a benefit to most people. The first thing people think about when you ask them how they feel about benefits is usually the confusion and frustration that comes along with open enrollment.
Having a strong benefits package is crucial. But if you drop the ball on branding benefits and can’t communicate the value to employees, all of the time, money, and human effort that goes into constructing a robust benefits program is wasted.
Start with why
Do employees believe that their managers and senior leadership sincerely care about their wellbeing? Benefits are often perceived as an employer obligation, not as something a company offers to take care of its people.
When communicating about benefits offerings, include the “why” as much (if not more) than the “what.” Why bother with wellness programs? Why offer PTO? All of these things are designed to help employees be healthier and happier – so make sure that is the message that is getting across.
Integrate communications about your benefits plan
When you’re first hired by a company, your benefits package is presented as a cohesive offering. The “benefits” include everything the company offers in addition to your salary, including things that health insurance, 401k, paid time off, wellness programs, tuition reimbursement, even the free coffee in the break room.
After that first day, each piece of the pie is usually presented totally separately. PTO is seen as unrelated to health insurance, as is the 401k and your wellness program. This fragmented picture makes people forget what they even have. An important piece of branding benefits is making sure communication is consistent and part of a unified effort.
Go ahead…toot your own horn
Don’t be modest about publicizing the benefits of working for your company! To build your benefits brand, submit your company for recognition in local, regional and national lists, like “Top Workplace,” “Healthiest Employer” and other awards.
Celebrate accolades internally and by posting on your company website, blog, and social sites. This can help remind employees of what they like about working for you and is great publicity for potential future hires!
Consider non-traditional benefits offerings
So you might not be able to pull an Oprah and gives cruises to all your employees, but you can have some fun with your employee benefits. Some nice-to-have perks we’ve seen companies implement include:
· Dry cleaning delivered to the office
· Phased return-to-work-program for new moms
· Martini bar Fridays
· Day off on your birthday
· Ping pong table in the office
· A free espresso machine for “idea fuel”
While these things may seem minor, they are definitely appreciated by employees. These are the kind of benefits employees are more likely to talk about with their friends and family, which can be great for your benefits brand and help differentiate your company.