The Brand Element: Creating a Brand that Reflects your Culture
Part I: Employee Benefits
Recently at Trucking Proud, we met with a potential client – a sizeable CTA member with between 300 and 400 trucks and around 600 employees. We shot a video to overhaul their recruiting platforms, interviewing employees about the culture and what it means to them to be part of the company. It was a powerful experience, not only for us, but also for the owners, because the questions we asked aren’t questions they get to hear the answers to every day. It’s a family-owned and family-run business, and employees talked about how the culture is family-oriented. They mentioned the intentional engagement of employees as human beings, people to be cared about. When they referenced safety training, they talked about it not as a compliance requirement, but as a show of care to make sure employees stay healthy and go home to their families.
This is all exactly what an owner wants to hear, and it’s what makes a stellar recruiting video. When I left, I asked the owner to send me their employee benefits communications guide. After several email requests for the same information went without response, I followed up again. What the owner sent me was the plan documents that insurance companies provide to brokers – documents that are filled with technical jargon and are completely unconsumable. That’s all they had, and it was what they were providing to employees to guide them through the benefits process. I asked the owner, “When your employees finish open enrollment, do you think they feel closer to you or further away?” The response was “further away.”
Companies invest significantly in employee benefits. This company, in particular, is spending $3M annual on employee benefits. At the end of the enrollment process, employees should feel thankful, appreciative and closer to the company than ever before. Instead, the experience often makes them feel like it’s a government-mandated process that companies detest. The benefits process at many companies actually divides the labor force from the employer.
The first thing any company should do is take a step back and ask itself “why?”. Why do you offer employee benefits? What do you want the outcome to be? You care about your people, you’re making a huge investment that takes a ton of work, and at the end, you should want your employees to feel more affectionate toward you as an employer than they did before. If you aren’t getting that, you are wasting your time, money and an opportunity to cast that care into your culture.
In order to feel that connection, to have that appreciation and to understand that the company invests in benefits because it’s important to take care of its people, employees need to have their hand held throughout the process. They need to be well-educated about benefits offerings in a consumable format, and there need to be multiple levels of communication in various formats.
- Step 1: Voicemail communication from the company’s HR leader that acknowledges open enrollment is approaching. This can be a quick soundbite on what to expect during the process, including how the company is going to support employees through it.
- Step 2: Offer digital communication and support. Some companies create guided tutorial videos. Some companies opt to provide employees with access to an app that helps guide employees to the plan that will best serve their needs based on a dozen questions about the level of care they expect to utilize. Some companies employ both the video and app options. It will depend on the demographics of your employee base, among other factors.
- Step 3: Consumable written explanation of benefit offerings. The translation of the plan materials the insurance company provides into something everyone can process and digest requires thought and a great deal of intuition. If you don’t know where to start when creating this invaluable material, Trucking Proud can help.
- Step 4: Open enrollment meetings. Trucking proud supports employers by bringing in a team of experts who speak the languages of a company’s workforce. With the support of technical specialists and our Trucking Proud team, we are able to translate the plans and options into a digestible format. The experts not only explain options, but also field and answer questions in real time.
- Step 5: Continued support through a hotline that employees can call with additional questions as they proceed through open enrollment. Trucking Proud offers this service.
If you utilize a personal digital device to communicate with your employees, ensure you are compliant with California labor laws. It’s much easier to comply than most people realize. This article is the first in a three-part series designed to help you create a brand that is a true reflection of your company culture. Keep an eye out for Part II.