Top tips for communicating flexible benefits

The art of successfully communicating a flexible benefit plan to employees can be difficult if employers don’t have the right strategy in place from the start, and there are a few key questions to consider before starting jobs. communications.


  • Targeted communication is essential to the success of a flexible benefit plan.
  • Employers can optimize employee engagement by using a range of media to communicate the flexible program to their staff.
  • Flexible system communications should be kept up to date so that staff can remember the existence of the system.

Employers should start by determining how, why, and when to communicate their flexible program, as well as what they mean exactly. A communications workshop involving a range of stakeholders, such as HR, internal communications staff, and employees, can be a good place to start.

Matt Duffy, Online Benefits Manager at Lorica Employee Benefits, says: “The session will look at internal communication methods that [an employer] can maximize; what tools has the organization tried before; and ask employees how they like to receive workplace communications. “

Employee support is the key to any successful workplace strategy, and flexible communication is no different. To maximize employee support, employers need to engage staff by making sure they know the benefits available to them.

Waste of money

Alex Thurley-Radcliff, Strategic Consultant at Shilling Communications, says: “It doesn’t matter [an employer] done, it’s all about awareness, so get employees to act on their own, otherwise [the flex scheme] just disappears in the background. Employers can spend all that money to set it up, and while it’s supposed to be cost neutral, it can be a waste of money. “

Debby Hannaford, Benefits Consultant at NorthgateArinso, adds: “The key phase is to engage with employees and their expectations so they know what’s going to happen, why it’s going to happen and how it’s going to affect them. “

No two employees are the same, even if they perform the same job, so communication strategies should be tailored to the preferred communication methods of the employees. These can include emails, convenience stores, posters, information sessions, road shows, videos, and one-on-one meetings.

“Communication of flexible benefits is becoming more and more online,” says Duffy. “However, people need a range of communication tools to know what flexibility is, how to access it, and why they should make their choices.”

Maximize engagement

Employers need to explain the underlying message of their communication strategy to maximize employee engagement. Nick Throp, co-founder of communications company LikeMinds, says flex should be seen as part of the employee / employer story.

“In other words, why [the employer] are flexible and why does the program make sense for this organization? ” he says. “Why does this make sense to the employee? What is value and how does it fit into the overall story of why an employer rewards and recognizes their employees? “

If an employer fails to update their communications strategy, employees can make passive choices about their flex benefits or, worse yet, forget about the flex plan altogether.

Throp adds, “The annual enrollment is coming back again, and the danger is that employees just tick the same boxes and make the same choices they did last year, and they don’t necessarily commit to that, but employers would like to. let them do it. “

Self-service communication tools that allow employees to tap into their employer’s flexible program when it suits them can help keep the program in mind, says Duffy. “Podcasts, online video tutorials, presentations available through YouTube or the organization’s intranet site can be very good and employees can digest. [information about the scheme] in their time.

Case study: Holiday Extras uses a step-by-step approach to spread the word about flex

Holiday Extras took a step-by-step approach to communicating their flexible benefits plan when it launched in 2011, with the goal of involving as many employees as possible.

The first phase was designed to inform employees of the arrival of the program and involved newsletters and intranet announcements, as well as staff representatives, known as ambassadors, to communicate the launch of the program to colleagues in the l ‘business.

The second phase was designed to communicate program details and relevant posters, the organization’s intranet site and face-to-face sessions with its flexible provider, Thomsons Online Benefits.

Anouk Agussol, People Manager at Holiday Extras, says: “We are a young and very relaxed company in many ways, so we wanted to make sure our communications were jargon free and stuck to our employer brand.”

The organization has entered the third communication phase with the launch of the flexible program: all employees have received a quick guide by email explaining all the benefits offered.

Holiday Extras now communicates with employees on a monthly basis with presentations, one-on-one meetings, posters and emails because, in addition to an annual registration window, it maintains monthly registration windows for certain benefits.

“I think it’s really important to communicate well and let everyone know what’s on offer,” Agussol says. “We want to be able to provide people with all of these benefits, so that they can get the most out of working for Holiday Extras and have an impact on their daily lives. If you don’t communicate it properly, you run the risk of people being unaware or unsure of what they may have. “

Case study: E. Staff are given powerful messages on the flexible system

Energy company E.On has launched a segmented communications campaign to ensure the right messages about its flexible benefits plan are reaching the right employees.

With around 12,000 employees at 80 locations across the UK, including wind farms and customer contact centers as well as field staff, the organization was keen to have its benefits package communicated in a meaningful way. engaging.

His campaign used a network of employee representatives, known as local champions, as well as targeted emails and door-to-door mailings. He also gave line managers full briefings to help them promote the system by transmitting information to employees.

Ant Donaldson, Senior Benefits Specialist, UK HR, at E.On, says: “Having different communication channels means people are exposed to at least one of the channels to which they are receptive. There is a certain degree of targeting, but it also involves sending things through a lot of different mediums so people have the right things to respond to. “

E. We maintain a flexible annual registration window, but communicate regularly with staff about the program. It also provides Total Reward Statements (TRS), which are updated monthly. Employees are encouraged to check their returns before making their flexible choices in order to see the value of their package.

“It helps get the message across that our reward sets aren’t just pay,” says Donaldson. “We try to differentiate ourselves by the quality of our services, so getting people to take a look at their TRS is a really positive message.”

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