Communication may be the key ­ but what exactly is it?

This article is brought to you by JPMorgan INVEST

Benefit packages have come a long way in a relatively short space of time. They are now more complex than ever before. Gone are the days when an employee joined an organisation and was automatically enrolled in the final salary pension scheme.

Now there’s a large array of benefits to consider, from pensions to share schemes and beyond, to life cover, health and even pet insurance! The wide choice could be part of the reason that, according to this survey, 54% of employers believe that the workforce does not appreciate the benefits on offer.

In order to increase the perceived value of the benefits package, extensive communications programmes are installed. Media ranging from brochures and leaflets to more 21st century communication methods such as intranet sites are employed.

But at what cost?
Large budgets are being spent on these communications exercises and yet the messages still don’t seem to be getting through. Furthermore, according to this study, 70% of employers do not even measure the effectiveness of their communications programme!

Is there time now for a fundamental rethink? How can the employers communicate the true value of the benefits package? Let’s examine ‘communication’ for a moment. It can mean different things to different people. For some, it may mean a monologue or a speech. For instance, the communication of a policy in a party political broadcast. The point may be well made, but, because it?s all one sided, is it effective communication? Does it really get the electorate voting?

Let’s consider making exactly the same point in an arena such as the TV programme Question Time.

What’s the difference?
For some of the audience, it?s the chance to question the politician directly. For the rest of the audience and for viewers at home, they at least get the chance to hear the argument. This is not monologue but rather dialogue. Through greater understanding there may actually be more of a chance that the listener is persuaded and votes accordingly!

In the HR and benefits world it’s the difference between information and education. Information, be it in the form of brochures or emails, is very often misunderstood, or at worst goes unread, and so perhaps never gets acted upon.

Education, on the other hand, allows for a greater understanding. By educating staff, be it by way of seminars or interactive online tools, the true value of the benefits can be examined, understood, appreciated and, most importantly, can be acted upon.

The views and opinions in this article are those of our sponsor, JPMorgan INVEST, and do not necessarily reflect those of

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