John Whitaker, benefits consultant at Sky, will discuss benefits communication strategies at Employee Benefits Live on 22 September 2015.
He will deliver a session entitled ‘A guide to successfully marketing your benefits offering’, alongside Anna Cotgreave, reward and benefits manager at law firm Clifford Chance.
During the session, Whitaker (pictured) will outline the approaches Sky has taken to enhance employee engagement with its benefit offerings. He will identify some of the barriers to effective engagement and the steps taken to overcome these.
Whitaker said: “I think communications are fundamentally what help to support and drive the success of our employee benefit schemes.”
Overcoming communications barriers
For Whitaker, essential elements of a successful communications strategy include: using language that can be easily understood by everybody; ensuring that the names of benefit offerings clearly illustrate their content and using technology platforms that allow staff to easily access all of their benefits and associated information in one place.
He believes that employee experience is key. “This includes customer service, making sure our providers deliver for our employees in the best possible way, and ensuring that an employee can flow through a system and find what they need as quickly as possible.”
Whitaker will also explain why a thorough understanding of the make-up of a workforce, and tailoring communications accordingly, plays a vital role in increasing engagement.
He said: “Around half our workforce don’t sit in front of a computer all day, every day. They have iPads and tablet devices, so we’ve segmented our workforce based on the working patterns and the working tools that our employees have.”
A targeted, data-driven approach
Whitaker will provide some specific examples of the role communications has played in enhancing Sky’s employee benefits offerings. The media organisation has taken a data-driven approach to set goals and effectively reach staff through its communications strategy. This has enabled Sky to target particular benefits, such as childcare vouchers, to segments of its workforce in order to improve take-up.
“Sky has a predominantly male population but when we looked at the take-up of childcare vouchers we saw that it was predominantly female, so for us there was a big mismatch in terms of our employee demographic, the number of parents at Sky and the take-up of childcare vouchers,” he said. ”Based on the data, we changed how we communicated [this benefit] and changed some of the messaging within our communications to help support employees and make sure everyone is maximising their usage of our employee benefits.”
Delivering value to employees and the organisation
Whitaker hopes that those attending the session on 22 September will gain further insight in to “the importance of communication and communicating right to employees”.
“There are different ways of looking at how you can structure a communication and engagement programme, regardless of what your budget is, to make sure that you are really delivering value to employees and to the organisation.
“As communication tools and strategies have developed, such as social media and all of the other channels that we have available to us, we can see the results and the actions of our communications a lot more quickly and [what’s important is] how we use that to continue to develop the communications agenda and the benefits agenda with our employees.”
Commenting on his experience of attending Employee Benefits Live in previous years, Whitaker said: “It’s a really good opportunity to meet with people who are doing the same jobs as us and facing the same challenges as us, as well as [meeting] with our current suppliers and potential future suppliers as well.”
Employee Benefits Live 2015 will take place at Olympia National, London, on 21-22 September.