Before I jump in, I realize that there is some cost associated with everything. My love of economics doesn’t allow me to get away with the idea of a “free lunch” without mentioning that; however, I’m talking about increasing the perceived value without increasing the direct cost of the various options offered. Hang with me, there’s good stuff to share.
My first SHRM 2014 session focused on benefit communication best practices and was presented by Mary Shafer at ADP. Here are nine tips, ideas, and concepts for improving your benefits communication.
What’s the key to crafting a communication plan? Understand your objective and your audience and communicate with multiple media.
If you want to increase the perceived value of an item (your benefits package), you need to help the customer (your employees) better understand the offerings and how they can help them to achieve their life goals.
Think about targeted, timely messages. As an example, “Hey, it’s two months until the end of the plan year. You still have some of your FSA funds remaining. Here are a few ideas for how you could utilize those funds before they expire…”
Talk in laymen’s terms, not HR-speak. Think about someone in your life that might have trouble understanding the message, and make sure you could explain it to them (a teen, parent, grandparent, etc.).
Mix up the media you use–email and/or brochures are not the only options! Consider postcards, posters (bonus tip: include QR codes for smartphone scanning), mailings, video, podcasts, text, external websites, or even social media.
Use employee stories (with permission) to make the options personal and help others relate. Maybe a new parent talking about how the maternity benefits helped them, an employee who utilized the short term disability coverage, or someone who transitioned to a high deductible plan and realized cost savings.
Be sure to measure, refine, and follow up. Results are the key here, not just activity.
Pro tip: use short one minute videos to answer questions in an FAQ format and post them internally for employees to access. Not sure how to start? Imagine an employee calls you with a question about their benefits. Now, consider your response to that question. Take a few moments to write down some key thoughts, then shoot a video of your response (or just record the audio as a podcast, if you’re video shy!). That is all it takes! Do five to ten of those, then post them. As you get other frequent/recurring requests, create more of those short snippets to help answer questions.
So, what has worked for your organization? How do you communicate benefits to your staff? Are any of the suggestions above of particular interest to you?
So if you’re a SHRM member and/or volunteer leader, you probably saw the news yesterday that SHRM is no longer supporting the PHR and SPHR exams after 2014. Read on for how this impacts you, and for those considering a SHRM Learning System alternative, I have a recommendation for that as well at the end. Here’s the note that many of us received earlier this week:
Dear Volunteer Leaders,
As an important and valued member of the SHRM community, I am pleased to share some exciting news with you. The Board of Directors of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has approved a plan to create a competency-based certification program for human resource professionals.
The new HR certification is based on the SHRM HR Competency Model, which consists of nine primary competency domains defined with behavioral proficiency standards across four professional levels — entry, middle, senior and executive. The new certification will be the first of its kind focused on teaching and the testing of this practical, real-life information that HR professionals need to excel in their careers.
“The differentiator for HR professionals will not be what you know, but what you can do with what you know,” said SHRM Board Chair Bette Francis. “SHRM has a responsibility to lead the profession towards a certification process that proves competencies. That will benefit the individual, the profession and employers by aligning HR with the changing demands of business.”
Over the last three years, SHRM had conducted and validated research on behavioral competencies and has developed its own competency model to serve as a foundational resource for all HR professionals. SHRM is currently working on a certification program that will create a testing regime and governance model to provide integrity to the exam process.
SHRM plans to offer the first exam for the new competency-based certification in mid-2015. However, to ensure that no applicants are disadvantaged by this transition, SHRM will continue to support the PHR and SPHR certifications programs through the December 2014 – January 2015 test window. Other exams will be supported through their last test window in 2014.
“We have been working towards this for several years and are taking steps to ensure a smooth transition for SHRM members and HR professionals,” said SHRM CEO and President Henry G. (Hank) Jackson. “We are creating a clear pathway for HR professionals who are already certified under knowledge-based credentials so they can move to the new SHRM competency-based certification. This certification will be relevant to all career levels, across all industries, and organizations around the world.”
I know you are as excited as I am about SHRM’s focus on competency-based certification and SHRM will be sharing updates with you about the new program in the coming weeks and at the Annual Conference.
Elissa C. O’Brien, SPHR
Vice President, Membership
Earlier today the latest workplace flexibility research from the Families and Work Institute and SHRM came out, and there were some very interesting data points in the study. A few quick hits from the 2014 National Study of Employers (link to the full study below):
The presence of women/minorities impacts offerings: Organizations with more women and racial or ethnic minorities who are in or report to executive leadership positions are more likely to offer a high level of health care and economic security benefits than organizations with fewer women/minorities in those positions.
How are employers preparing their people? Employers are more likely to provide training for supervisors in managing diversity and least likely to have a leadership development program for women (63% vs 11%).
The all important culture discussion: Respondents were asked to assess the supportiveness of their workplace cultures… The majority of respondents indicated “very true” to statements assessing whether supervisors are encouraged to assess employee performance by what they accomplish rather than “face time” (64%) and whether supervisors are encouraged to be supportive of employees with family needs and by finding solutions that work for both employees and the organization (58%). Far fewer employers, however, responded “very true” to statements asking whether management rewards those within the organization who support flexible work arrangements (11%) and whether their organization makes a real and ongoing effort to inform employees of the availability of work-life assistance (24%).
Twenty one percent of employers overall indicated they must comply with the FMLA but fail to offer at least 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave for at least one type of leave. In other words, approximately one in five employers appear to be out of compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act.
It’s day two of the 2014 SHRM Talent Management conference, and I attended a great session on Quality of Attrition: Management’s Favorite Human Capital Metric. The bottom line is that we know that every person that leaves the business is not the same. Why they left, how valuable they were, and what the organization could have done to change the results are all elements of attrition quality that can (and should, arguably) be measured.
So who’s doing it?
High performing companies more likely to measure quality of attrition than low performers. #SHRMTalent
According to data from i4cp, high-performing companies are more likely than low-performing companies to measure various factors relating to employee attrition. In fact, 85% of high performing companies measure factors such as voluntary/involuntary attrition, whereas low performers only measure that data approximately 70% of the time. Continue reading →
I’m at the SHRM Talent Management Conference in Nashville this week. This morning I attended a session on improving employee retention by Linda Ginac at TalentGuard. Here are some thoughts on that topic…
Turnover is real
With average employee turnover by generation standing at 2 years (Millenials), 5 years (Gen X), and 7 years (Boomers), turnover is a real issue for organizations everywhere. According to a recent study, the average turnover in the US is 15% with just over 10% of that being voluntary/preventable.
Next week I’ll be attending the SHRM Talent Management Conference in Nashville. It’s an event focusing on recruiting and talent, and I’m excited about attending and sharing some of the sessions I’ll be viewing.
If you’re going to be there and want to connect, hit me up via email and we can try to make it work.
As a preview, here are the sessions I’m planning to check out during the event.
Big Data: Your Best Bet In The War For Talent
Why: As our organization has grown it has become harder to source from some of the same pools that we’ve used repeatedly over the years. I’m hoping to learn more about using data to help find the next person I hire.
Quality of Attrition: Management’s Favorite Human Capital Metric
Why: We have a long-standing discussion at work about the difference between retention and turnover. For our purposes, retention is preventable, turnover is not. I’m hoping to learn more about attrition, what the market averages are, and how we can leverage that for better organizational metrics.
Why: Thanks to my buddy Chris Ponder, I’ve been getting more interested in the field of performance improvement lately. I’d like to look at ways we can take our paper (shudder) performance reviews to another level with more impact to the business.
Effectively Managing a Remote Workforce
Why: We have more people outside our local office and we’re adding new work sites regularly. It becomes difficult to make sure everyone feels included and engaged when they are not physically in the same workplace. I’m looking for ideas on how managers can lead those people as well as how to make sure we’re taking care of the remote staff adequately.
Strategic Talent Acquisition: The “Talent Advisor” Approach
Basically, how valuable would your leadership say your recruiting function is? Do they think it enhances the overall business by finding the right people at the right time? I think we do this pretty well, but I am always looking for ways to improve our service delivery on the recruiting side.
Well? Anything in there look interesting to you? What would you like me to share about?
So the SHRM 2013 Conference is in Chicago. I’ll be there, will you?
This will be my third SHRM conference to attend, and my hope is that it will be the best one yet. 60+ other HR and recruiting bloggers will be there.
Who else is going? What sessions are you looking forward to?
I know it’s a few months away, but is anyone interested in a quick, informal meetup? Maybe for breakfast or something? I’d love to have the opportunity to chat with some of the smart people that follow the blog.
Hashtag #shrm13 for those following on Twitter.
Tips for SHRM 2013 conference first timers
Here’s a short video where I talk about my tips for the first-time attendees for the SHRM 2013 conference. Subscribers click here to view. The video notes are below if you don’t have time or can’t watch it now.
Here’s what I wish I had known ahead of time for my first SHRM conference events.
Plan to talk with 2-3 vendors who might be valuable partners for your company. Maybe not today, but six months or a year from now you might be looking for an applicant tracking system, a rewards supplier, etc. Take this time to talk with them face to face in the expo.
Look for the “parties” or after-hours events. I’m not a party kind of guy, but those events are great in that you can develop friendships and lasting connections. Bottom line: leave some space open for unscheduled networking and learning. Some of the best experiences you’ll ever have!
Start connecting with people before the event. That way you’ll have connections there on site that you can meet with and those connections can greatly enhance your enjoyment of the event.
Definitely plan to learn, take notes, and take things back with you. But those three areas are some that I wish I’d known about when I attended my first SHRM conference.
So, anyone else planning to attend? Do you have any tips for the first-timers out there?
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