Top 3 reasons to focus on employee communications

Top 3 reasons to focus on employee communications
Top 3 reasons to focus on employee communications

1.    Maximising the use of the wellbeing services included as part of your Group Income Protection premium can reduce, or even prevent, claims

These days, Group Income Protection (GIP) should be thought of as more of a wellbeing and service provision than just a financial provision. Although it varies from provider to provider, GIP plans can now include a vast array of free, added-value services, from Employee Assistance Programmes, Eldercare Support Services and Best Doctors to Day Zero and Early Interventions, Claims Management and Rehabilitation. The list goes on…

These services are there for the taking, but surprisingly under-utilised by employers and employees alike. The fact is, for a GIP premium of as little as 0.20% of salary you gain access to all these services that, if used, can realistically reduce or even prevent GIP claims.

Of course, it’s not just about reducing your costs. Wellbeing initiatives are essential tools for those companies wanting to ensure a competitive edge. They help create a corporate culture that prioritises its employees and customers and is aligned with overall business strategy.

The key is to communicate these benefits – not only to employees but across the business to line managers, the Financial Director, the CEO.

Clueless about communications?

-          Package benefits in more of a holistic framework. In other words, make them more “human” by linking them to broader wellbeing benefits such as flexible working arrangements.

-          Position benefits under your own company brand – and/or a recognisable internal brand – and promote it regularly. This will boost visibility and recognition while keeping the offer relevant. Providers should be able to help with this at no extra cost. For example, Generali has just launched a self-serve Wellbeing Communications Hub to help its GIP and Group Life clients produce employer branded wellbeing such as information leaflets, posters, wallet cards and more – at no extra cost for digital materials, or professionally printed versions for a small charge. For more information, click on This Link.

-          Provide benefit summary sheets to line managers and encourage them to outline benefits to employees during one-to-ones, annual reviews and benefit fairs to help signpost staff to under-utilised benefits, such as all the added-value wellbeing benefits available via GIP.

 2.      Tailoring your communications to employee interest and need can greatly improve your level of benefits take-up and engagement

Generic communications are simply not all that effective. That’s a given. This shouldn’t come as any surprise when you consider the fact that UK corporations have never been more diverse: consider the rise of the Millennials; the sandwich generation [carers of children and/ or elderly relatives or both]; and the ageing workforce. Each group has its own interests and needs, not to mention the countless sub-divisions within those groups.

HR professionals play a critical role in helping businesses understand the needs of multiple generations. But reports of reduced overall HR investment over the next year, together with potentially misaligned priorities, suggest that it could pay dividend for HR to lean on the benefits and communications expertise of providers.

Searching for simplicity?

-          First and foremost, understand what motivates and engages your employees. Use employee engagement surveys or focus groups and involve employees in how they would like their benefits to be communicated. Also, get employee feedback before and after a communications campaign.

-          Put in place a suitable mechanism to formally measure the return on investment from communications and assess how well various channels are working. For example:

 3.      Alerting your employees to legislative issues that could affect them will not only do them a big favour, but also boost your company’s “goodwill” factor

Everyone is busy. So if an employer is taking the trouble to highlight to its employees changes in legislation that might affect them and their finances, that could only be considered a positive.

Take the imminent reductions to state benefits, for example. Under the new Universal Credit regime to be introduced on 6 April 2017, the limited capacity for work element will be abolished to mirror changes to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). This reduces support for those deemed capable of some work-related activity from £5,312 to £3,801 a year. This reduction, coupled with the fact that only around 50% of individuals are accepted for ESA anyway, also makes the need for income protection ever more important.

Going the extra mile?

-          Use communications to help educate employees on the impact of wider market changes – for example the imminent reductions in ESA and the impact on the potential state support available in event of long-term absence from work.

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