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Zest’s Guide to Successful Employee Communications

Almost three quarters of employers set out to improve employee engagement through their benefit strategy, according to research we sponsored earlier this year. The same percentage said that they require better or more targeted communications to achieve their future objectives. As a marketing professional new to the benefits industry, it was interesting to see this recurring theme crop up time and time again.

I then thought back to my previous roles and realised that my own experience reflected these very statistics. In most cases I didn’t know that the companies I was working for made certain benefits available to me. So, how could I consider using something I didn’t know I had?

Being a marketer who battles with awareness, engagement and ultimately take up, I quickly realised that every benefits professional faces the same problems. It’s only the audience that has changed. So, here’s a few fresh tips on creating a campaign to catch your people’s eye.

Define clear objectives

The first step is to set a clear and specific objectives. Making a general statement that you want to boost employee engagement won’t get you very far on its own. As when setting objectives for your team, make your communication objectives SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely). These objectives will provide a solid foundation from which you can start building; ensuring your plan is focused and effective.

Set yourself up to succeed

Work to a realistic timetable and set clear deadlines. List everything you would like to include in your campaign and work backwards from your deadline date. You’ll soon work out what’s achievable and what’s not. Trust me, it will make your life a lot easier. If you don’t have the capacity or capabilities within your team, call in a professional to help get your comms on track.

Take time to understand your audience

In 2014, Media Dynamics research revealed that the average person will experience over 5,000 adverts and brand exposures a day. Given the rise of marketing across digital and social platforms in the last few years, this number is likely to have increased. So, it’s no wonder your people have become so adept at filtering what they choose to see. Now, more than ever, it’s important that your communications cut through the noise.

You’ll need to take time to understand your audience and treat them as individuals. Putting your finger in the air and guessing how your people behave is a sure fire way to completely miss the mark. Evaluate your audience. Where are they based? Are they mainly online or offline? What’s the best place to catch their attention? When do they find time to read emails? Do you have any established communication channels and how effective are they? When you know all this you’ll be ready to start making informed, strategic decisions.

Construct clear, relevant and personal messages

Establish your key messages before you invest time on the creative. Don’t be afraid to test your messages using a sample group to make sure they resonate. Use the tools you have available to their full potential. Do you have an email editor that allows you to easily tailor and personalise messages within your benefits platform? Send automated messages with snappy, engaging reminders.

You’ll want your messaging to fit in with your organisation’s brand. So, when considering elements such as design, tone of voice and collateral type, make sure it represents the brand your people love. Simple, attractive visuals and carefully crafted wording that people want to read are worth their weight in gold.

But remember, no one likes to receive the same bland message. Or, one that doesn’t even apply to them. Personalise your messages and include content that is specific to the individual, making sure you only send communications to the relevant audience. That way your recipients are more likely to engage with your messaging and less likely to feel bombarded. This should be made simple by your benefits platform.

Finally, don’t forget to KISS. I’m sure we’ve all heard this a million times before, but, keep it simple stupid! Confusing messaging will damage your engagement levels. So, keep your messaging clear and make your Call To Action pop!

Think outside the box

Think of unusual channels and messages that will get your people talking. You want your message to stick, so perhaps it’s time to think outside the box. Whilst emails, flyers and posters are great, they’re also something that your ‘target’ is exposed to on a daily basis. Turn things into a competition, a game, or even a compelling story. For example, creating characters around your benefits who can provide helpful tips, information or even feature in quizzes throughout your campaign. Unusual communications can often generate the most conversation.

Continue to communicate throughout the year.

Keep communications flowing throughout the year to ensure your people are aware when new benefits become available. Help keep your people motivated by reminding them of how much you continue to invest in them.

Full blown campaigns can’t keep filling your day, but scheduled email messages, reminders and engagements throughout the year can help continue the conversation. Seasonal reminders that tie in with benefits that are relevant to the time of year can help keep your people engaged.

Measure the outcome of your campaigns

You’ll want to know which activities deliver the best results and you don’t want to waste your time. You can use your benefits platform to track how people respond to your communications campaign. For example, being able to see how many people log in to your benefit platform after you’ve sent an email will indicate whether you’re messaging is hitting the mark. Alternatively, you could track benefit take up following a roadshow event to demonstrate their value to your boss. The right metrics will depend on the objectives of your campaign.

Once you’re up and running, you’ll be surprised by what can be achieved with a SMART communications campaign. Good luck! And, if you want further guidance on your communication campaign, please get in touch using the form below.

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