If you are creating an employee benefits communication plan, there’s a new way to think about how to best present benefits to employees.
In traditional benefits fairs, less than half of the working populace actually understand the benefits available to them.
If employees don’t understand benefits, then tons of goodies available to them can’t even be used. Due to this waste, a new way to present benefits online has emerged.
In this guide, we will go over what it is and exactly how you can host one at your company.
Let’s get started at the top with what benefits fairs are.
What is a Health and Benefits Fair?
Many companies strive to retain their employees by offering company benefits, such as health and vision care, membership discounts to local businesses, and great retirement fund options. However, not all employees may be aware of the benefits available to them, especially if they are new to a company.
Planning an employee benefits fair can introduce workers to all the extras that a company has to offer and are important in recruiting and retaining the best hires.
The Challenge of Communicating Benefits to Employees
Successfully educating your staff on their health benefits is no small feat, most notably when it comes to planning and setting up all of the logistics. Both employees and employers struggle with the effectiveness and outcome of a traditional benefits fair.
We will explain the struggle from both sides when benefits fairs are not planned effectively.
If you want employees making the most of the benefits you offer, you will find overwhelmed and disinterested staff skimming over the benefits plans available to them.
Let me give you an example:
The traditional approach involves handing out printed materials like brochures and packets about benefits to employees. These might be provided within the office or even at a benefits fair – in-person – with booths and representatives from different companies involved.
The down-side to this method is that many employees feel they don’t have the time to educate themselves on the benefits when just handed material. They might not even know which benefits to choose from with all the information they need to sift through.
In-person, it is great to have a short discussion with a rep about benefits, but it is impossible to review and understand everything in the short amount of time allocated for a benefits fair during company time.
In fact, employees admit they spend just 30 minutes on average thinking about their benefits choices when making decisions. The engagement is not there, so their attention isn’t either.
On the flip side, several employers may not have the resources or the know-how to educate employees on the benefits they’re offering. In fact, only 40% of employers help employees understand the benefits available to them. Yikes.
In addition, employers may have to keep spending excessively on the printing and re-printing of outdated educational material, racking up the costs to keep staff up to date on their benefits.
Add venue or location drama, organizing sponsorships and partnerships to show up, and you’ve got yourself a big plate of stress on your table. Nothing that is impossible, of course… but there is an easier way.
The Solution to Communicating Benefits to Employees
What about presenting this information in a place your employees feel most at home and can review their information in one easy place? How about eliminating the constant printing and in-person coordination, all while adding more engaged and happy employees?
This is where the virtual in virtual benefits fair kicks in. And data shows that it actually works.
Hosting a benefits fair pushed employees from spending 30 minutes revising their benefits package to up to an hour. Aside from the convenience that virtual benefits fairs offer, they also packed a punch in efficiency and effectiveness for employees when understanding their benefits. A win-win for employers and employees.
Need we say more? Of course, we do. Here are 10 more reasons why you should choose to go virtual when presenting benefits to employees this year.
More Reasons to Host a Benefits Fair ONLINE for Employees
The advantages are endless when deciding to educate employees on their benefits online. From location independence for employees to cost savings for employers, there is a win-win for everyone when going virtual with a benefits fair.
Here is a brief list of each reason with further detailed explanation below.
Reach and inform all employees, no matter the location
Believe it or not, many companies spend thousands putting human resource managers on planes all over the world to meet with employees in-person. A virtual setup means saving all of that money, while still having everyone in the same room.
Employees take full ownership of their benefits package
In a virtual benefits fair, employees can visit the booths or watch the presentations that they need and only those that they need. They can download certain information and refer back to it whenever they need it. A great time and energy saver for your employees.
The convenience and comfort from doing it at home
Hosting a virtual benefits fair puts people in multiple situations where they feel comfortable — in an online environment, accessing information from wherever they work. This allows employees to better absorb the provided information.
New levels of engagement
A virtual benefits fair is new and exciting, and getting employees engaged may give them an entirely new outlook on wellness.
Direct access to representatives
No more playing a game of telephone with important information on health insurance. At a virtual benefits fair, employees can ask the questions they need answers for and they can get direct answers from insurance representatives.
Eliminates fixed costs
Virtual benefits fairs are cost-effective in many ways, from travel, printing, venue rental, and time spent organizing an in-person benefits fair.
Employers get immediate feedback
Employers can get statistics on what booths employees visited the most, or what presentation had the most attendance, which can help guide future communications.
Employees can involve their partner and/or family
Because employees can access the fair and any accompanying information from anywhere, it means they can include the people in their lives (whom will likely be affected by the benefits) that matter.
Employees will see (and feel) that their health and wellness is important to their employer
Virtual benefits fairs tend to show employees just how much they mean to their employer and to the company, and that’s likely one of the top reasons to host one!
But how do you even get started on hosting a virtual benefits fair?
How to Present Benefits to Employees Online
So you have decided to educate employees about benefits online? Let’s go over 5 quick steps you can use as a benefits fair checklist for when you host a benefits fair online. They are explained in detail below.
1. Choose a virtual events platform that’s right for your benefits fair
A platform is going to do all of the hard work for you when it comes to any virtual event. This way, you can focus on areas of your expertise and leave the rest up to the platform. If you’ve already got an idea of what you want your virtual benefits fair to look like, make sure you approach different platforms with that in mind.
You’ll want to make sure the platform is capable of doing anything and everything in the benefits fair. Keep in mind that not every virtual event platform can be flexible with what you have in mind or includes the tools you need to make your benefits fair as effective as possible. So explore your options as much as possible beforehand.
It’s also a great idea to look for a platform that offers quality customer support. 6Connex has helped countless companies host virtual benefits fair if you’re interested in reaching out to someone who can help you get connected to a trusted virtual benefits fair platform.
2. Decide what elements you’ll include in your virtual benefits fair
Once you’ve chosen your platform and you know what it’s capable of doing, you can start to make a list of the elements you’d like to see in your virtual benefits fair.
This could be anything from:
- 1:1 chats
- Booths for the different benefits providers and representatives
- Live webinars
- Pre-recorded videos
- Downloadable collateral
This will all depend on what type of experience you want your employees to have.
Employee Benefits Fair Themes
You might also think about how different elements will fall into the employee benefits fair themes you have thought up. If you need help thinking up themes, ask our specialists for help. We can help you draw inspiration from other theme ideas we have helped clients build up in their benefits fair event.
3. Schedule a date and time for virtual benefits fair
Choosing the right date and time to host your virtual benefits fair is important. Questions you should ask yourself include:
- Will you host your benefits fair during open enrollment?
- Will it be an all-day event?
- How much time do you need to plan benefits fair?
- Are there any company deadlines or holidays you need to consider?
Part of the great thing about offering a virtual event is that it can cater to more people’s schedules, especially those working and living in different timezones.
Make sure you schedule your benefits fair far enough in advance that you can market it internally and give your employees enough time to plan to attend.
4. Internally market your virtual benefits fair to employees
After you’ve picked a date and time, you will have to think about how you will market benefits to employees. You should provide them with initial information so they know what to expect and so they can start preparing questions for the event.
Use your internal marketing campaign to get employees excited about attending and getting the information they need. Create benefits fair flyers and other marketing material to distribute everywhere your employees eyes are, including:
- Internal networks
- Social media
- Around the office
5. Evaluate how the benefits fair went with data
Once you’ve held your event, it’s not entirely over. Use this time to take a look at the data you were provided from the platform you chose for your virtual benefits fair so you can answer important questions like:
- Which booths were visited the most?
- Were there tons of questions in the chats?
- What presentations were well-attended?
- What downloads were the most popular?
All of this information can help you guide year-long communications within the company as well as help you plan next year’s virtual benefits fair.
Pro-Tip to Mastering a Benefits Fair
Once you host a virtual benefits fair during open enrollment, you can make it an annual tradition. This way, you can do two things at once: help and encourage your employees to participate in open enrollment, while helping them make decisions that will truly benefit them and their families.
The Easy and Effective Answer: Host a Virtual Benefits Fair
A virtual benefits fair is global, engaging, informative, cost-effective, and it boosts employee morale, among many other pros. They help employees feel connected and give them access to the information they need at any time.
At 6Connex, our platform allows companies to host virtual benefits fairs that look a lot like an in-person benefits fair, complete with booths, presentations, and even an auditorium.
Don’t worry, we’re not leaving it up to you to figure it all out – that’s what we’re here for. Continue browsing our site to learn more about going virtual with your benefits fair or reach out to our specialists to get started on a demo today.