Successful employee benefit schemes need a multi-channel approach

Our partner Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust (NUH) recently won ‘Best Benefits Communications for a Large Employer’ at the Employee Benefits Awards generating a lot of excitement in our office!

NUH embraced our communications strategy for promoting their Christmas Home Electronics scheme in 2018, and as well as receiving recognition at these prestigious awards they also posted some impressive results. Registration and participation targets were exceeded by a significant margin and 91% of NUH staff said they would reuse the scheme (vs 89% of all other NHS staff).

In our opinion the success of this campaign was down to NUH’s willingness to use our multi-channel approach to marketing the employee benefits scheme. Here’s why:

Marketing employee benefit schemes using multi-channels

As with many NHS Trusts, staff eligible for NUH’s Christmas Home Electronics scheme were predominately female (76%). However there was a broad spread of age groups and staff working in different job functions across the Trust. This audience typically doesn’t have constant access to computers in the workplace, and some staff work shifts and others work in the community.

As a result we found that 54% of staff accessed the scheme from their own mobile device, with only 34% using desktops and 11% using a tablet. To drive this engagement NUH used a number of different methods including:

  • Printed posters and leaflets
  • Intranet material – posters, banners
  • Bi weekly newsletter
  • Closed Facebook posts
  • Daily programme of emails
  • Payslips
  • Registration prize draws promoted on all channels

 

The multi-channel approach was key, keeping awareness levels of the scheme high and reaching non-registered staff as well as those who we could contact via email. Consistency was also important ensuring that all marketing materials told the same story and used the same message and CTAs.

The creative approach had to be highly engaging too. As it was a Christmas campaign this gave us lots of opportunity to keep the momentum up and drive registrations and participation using visual tools. Using an advent calendar and other seasonal motives, we created animations to increase email open rates and create a sense of urgency to use the scheme in time for Christmas. This  creative approach is not usually used in the NHS workplace and helped the campaign stand out.

How can you get similar results?

Whether it’s a Christmas employee benefits scheme or any other campaign, the following tips can help increase participation rates:

1. Develop an integrated campaign using all available channels

Use different channels to raise awareness and drive engagement ensuring that whatever your staffs’ preferred communication methods are, there’s something for everyone. The majority of staff at NUH initially found out about the Christmas Home Electronics scheme via the Trust’s intranet, but engaged with it on their personal devices. However, printed communications were also important – constantly reminding staff about the scheme and signposting them to register.

2. Communicate frequently with your target audience

Use every opportunity to communicate regularly with staff throughout a campaign. Once registered NUH staff received daily emails to drive participation. Increase the frequency of communications as your scheme deadline approaches. With NUH we sent emails sometimes twice a day and over weekends, with no increase in unsubscribes. Weekends and out of hours proved a successful time to communicate when staff had more time to explore the scheme. Don’t be afraid of high frequency of communications for a time limited campaign.

3. Stand out from the crowd

Being innovative and developing high quality creative assets also increases engagement, particularly when communicating with your target audience on their personal device. Emails and social media posts really need to stand out from the crowd to attract attention and get people to take action, such as opening an email or clicking on a link. But the success is the message at the heart of the campaign. Know your audience, understand their triggers and develop a proposition where they can immediately see what’s in it for them.

4. Use word of mouth

Referral schemes can also make a big difference to the performance of a campaign, especially when targeting a diverse demographic with varying levels of digital adoption. NUH boosted their Christmas Home Electronics scheme with a ‘refer a colleague’ incentive: both the introducer and new registration were entered into a prize draw. The post campaign survey showed that this was the second most common way people heard about the scheme so was an effective innovation.

5. Measuring your campaign’s success

Finally, make sure you measure key metrics such as open rates, click throughs and traffic to the scheme webpage, as well as participation levels. Use these measurements to improve and refine future campaigns so you get even better results. NUH conducted a post-campaign survey of all participating staff to get a clear idea of which communication channels influenced their engagement – the answer was all of them! This feedback is invaluable for shaping future campaigns and understanding where to allocate resources to drive registrations and participation throughout the life cycle of a scheme.

If you would like to find out more about how we helped Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust promote their scheme using multiple channels, please get in touch with our team.

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