Removing the Barriers to Entry: Key Learnings to Drive Employee Engagement

Kim Duck, VP, People Benefits, Dow Jones

Kim Duck, VP, People Benefits, Dow JonesKim Duck, VP, People Benefits, Dow Jones

There’s no magic solution to driving up employee engagement. As a benefit professional, I’ve learned there is always room for improvement to help grow utilization of the programs offered. We all need to think differently about how to communicate our benefits to employees and drive up participation. The challenge becomes, when a situation arises, how do you remind employees to turn to your benefit platform?

During a crisis, you want to ensure employees are informed of the programs you offer so they can take advantage of them, offering a simplified solution to what can be a difficult and daunting situation. It’s about being consistent in communication and providing easy to understand, bite-sized consumable morsels of information. There needs to be a call to action with each advertisement, telling employees “what’s in it for them”. I sometimes think of myself as a Chief Marketing Officer selling my product- --our benefits platform. There’s no “one-size fits all” way to communicate. People consume information in different ways, and we need to be prepared to engage them all.

Here at Dow Jones, we exercise a number of methods to ensure our employees are informed of the resources at their disposal. In the office, we have posters with eye popping visuals and benefit kiosks stuffed with brochures. Postcards are mailed to homes, which we find to be the more successful than letters, since even opening an envelope can be a barrier to actually reading the important material you want to convey.

Many employees are more visual learners and need digital collateral to drive the message home. We look to utilize the digital displays in the office and in the onsite gym to showcase benefit programs with eye catching visuals. We also partner with our Talent team to make in-house videos to provide quick insight and engage external video partners who have existing content that requires minimal editing. It’s a turnkey solution that doesn’t require a lot of work and provides the bite-sized educational content that keeps employees’ attention.

"Many employees are more visual learners and need digital collateral to drive the message home. We look to utilize the digital displays in the office and in the onsite gym to showcase benefit programs with eye catching visuals"

We’re always looking to utilize new channels to drive up employee engagement. For instance, we now allow our vendors to communicate directly with employees. They have the resources and are committed to helping us market, it’s a great win-win. Vendors want employees on their platform, and you don’t have to put forth more effort to create a campaign. It’s especially a win if they share what resonated most with your population, which you can incorporate into future marketing efforts.

If your vendor has an app, it’s incredibly worthwhile to encourage employees to download it. It gives them the power to engage when and how they want at their fingertips. They’ll see the app every time they’re on their phones, and it’s a great reminder of the benefits that you offer even if they aren’t regularly using it. When a new employee starts, it’s ideal to have your IT department encourage them to download the apps onto their phone, increasing the chances of them engaging in your benefits. In doing so, you’ve successfully removed another barrier to entry.

Lastly and most important, we’ve rethought how we deliver our conventional content to employees. We moved away from traditional HR communication companies and sought out an award winning digital agency that concentrates on incredible web design. People shop the web all the time, why should our audience have a different web experience for benefits? There’s no firewall, no password to remember, and no barrier to entry. We consider common pillars that employees might want to know about— Healthcare, Financial Planning, Family Benefits, Company Perks and Legal/Regulatory—and write our own content to avoid any confusing jargon.

Articles vary from short lists or quick hits to some that really provide all the insight for those who want to know every detail. We approach our articles like we would a conversation with an employee in person—simple and straightforward—so they walk away from the article understanding the program and how to activate the resource. For those who learn better from video, we house our videos on the site and link employees to the website directly from our email signature, putting it out in the open so they don’t have to search for it.

We’re also on Instagram and have a monthly newsletter that we send out, compiling smart, concise extracts of benefit information that drive readers back to our website to learn more. Most importantly, these channels provide analytics and insight into which articles resonated with readers, which links received the most clicks and how long employees are spending on the site. We can then refer back to this data when planning future communications.

There’s no single solution to push up engagement. I think it’s about being open to different methods of communicating, stretching our marketing wings and using the analytics to help formulate our strategy. We want to be there for employees when they need us most, they just need us to remind them of that.

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