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Jennifer Benz January 26, 2017 4 min read

Marketing tips fuel benefit engagement during new hire onboarding

Nothing says, “We’re glad you’re here” like a tailored, friendly, and helpful new hire orientation and onboarding experience. This start of every employee’s journey is your single chance to make a positive first—and lasting—impression. Use these tips to engage and motivate your new team members from day one.

Treat employees like customers

As an employer, your mission in welcoming new employees is similar to your goal for building new customers. In both cases, you’re reaffirming that they’ve made the right decision by choosing you.

Since it’s basically all about marketing, you may want to tap your marketing department for inspiration. Specifically, look for lessons you can apply and tips and tricks you can transfer from the customer experience to the employee experience. A great place to start is by developing clear personas of who you are talking to, by asking yourself questions that go beyond the employee’s job title and geographic location, such as:

  • Who is your typical employee?
  • What is his or her family structure?
  • What are his or her passions?
  • What are his or her demands outside of work?
  • How does he or she like to receive information?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have a better idea of how you can tailor your new hire communication strategy to have the most meaningful impact.

Focus on value, not logistics

New hire information often focuses on the mechanics of enrolling in benefits during the first 30 days instead of focusing on connecting the value of benefits to the employee value proposition. Think of your new hire orientation as a way to tell that bigger story—why do your benefits exist and what do you expect of employees when it comes to using them? 

One important aspect that’s often overlooked is culture training. Acclimating employees to the organization’s culture—goals, values, and politics—has a critical impact on satisfaction and turnover. That culture will even dictate the way an organization goes about incorporating culture training. Some examples include presentations and/or discussions led by members of the organization’s leadership around mission and values, or pairing tenured colleagues with new hires for informal one-on-one discussions over coffee.

Target your benefits information

Benefits matter. They can seal the deal when it comes to getting a prospective employee to accept a job offer. Benefits are also a big reason that employees choose to stay at a company. According to the Employees speak out: Benz/Quantum 2014 health and engagement survey, employee satisfaction with health benefits is a major driver in employee engagement and retention, with 89% of respondents saying that health benefits play a part in why they stay with their current employer.

Different new hire segments have different needs. Recent college grads, international hires who are relocating, and experienced employees have unique priorities and expectations. A more tailored approach allows you to start off on the right foot with topics that matter, and it ensures that you’re speaking the same language. Take your Millennial and recent grad new hires, for example. For many of them, this will be their introduction to the wide world of employer benefits. By arming them with the right information, you’re setting them up for success for their entire career.

Think beyond the first 30 days

An employee’s first 90 days are critical. The more time that elapses, the more their priorities shift and the more you risk losing their attention. What they learn in their early days will set the course for how they view you as their employer in years to come. New hires are a captive audience, craving and ready to absorb information. Yet, most benefits information is crammed into the first day’s orientation (by the end of which employees are suffering from information overload) or into a few checklists for employees to take away and review later.

A better way to grab—and hold—the attention of your new hires is to expand your benefits orientation campaign to encompass the first 90 days—or even the first year—so that you can go beyond enrolling people in health and insurance programs and get them to fully use all the resources available to them. By cascading information (through emails, live trainings, and/or webinars), you can feed new hires bite-sized, actionable, and timely benefits messages. This keeps the line of communication open and provides an opportunity to promote benefits that are not deadline driven.

Use a multi-channel approach to promote resources

A multichannel communication approach is key to reaching everyone at the right time. In-person sessions, print materials, and online tools give new hires the chance to access the information they need, when they need it. Make sure a big part of your training includes where employees can go to find answers to their questions. While you don’t want to overwhelm them with information, you do want them to know that if questions arise, answers are available—either through a public benefits website (outside any firewall) and other communication resources or through subject matter experts who can give them personalized service.

Of course, employees will differ in their appetite for information and how they want to receive it. The key is to put the information out there in various formats so that it is easily accessible and can meet the needs of every type of employee.

Need help reaching your new hires? We’d be delighted to help. Contact us

Jennifer Benz

Jennifer Benz, SVP Communications Leader, has been on the leading edge of employee benefits for more than 20 years and is an influential voice in the employee benefits industry.