If you’re in HR, you’re also in marketing. Your target market? Employees. The research, strategies, and insight for consumer marketing also apply to employee benefits communications. You’re offering a product, and you want people to pay attention.
There’s a trend showing up in the consumer and employee markets — making the most of advocates. Much like major brands using athletes and actors to push their name and products, HR can use employee advocates in the same way.
Research company Nielsen tells us that 92% of people trust recommendations from their peers over any other source.
It makes sense that employees consider other employees a reliable, trustworthy source for company information. When they talk, it’s authentic.
Sure, some companies have well-funded employee advocacy programs (externally and internally focused). But you can have a well-founded program in no time, and with little funding.
Find your people.
Whether it’s by department, division, or location, HR folks usually know the employees with positive attitudes about company benefits. If you don’t, ask the managers who would be a confident, trusted, and enthusiastic messenger.
Build them up.
To enlist employees as benefits advocates, a generic email won’t suffice. Tell them why you’re entrusting them to help their peers understand their benefits. Something like, “We’ve heard you’re a ‘glass-half-full’ person, and that your peers trust you. We’d like to entrust you with a very important role.”
Hold a training session for your “chosen few.” Make sure they understand, in plain language, how to talk about the benefits you offer. Then send them quarterly packets of topical information they can easily share — things like posters, emails, and table tents.
From certificates of appreciation and plaques, to gift cards or an extra vacation day — there are many ways to thank your advocates for being the trusted voice of HR.
As a communications company, we’d like you to create a communication strategy for year-round communications, with this advocacy program built in. But, as an HR-specific communications company, we know you’re swamped.
So why wait? This is the kind of program we’d call low-hanging fruit, so get out there and pick your people.