A boy reading a book on healthcare
Employee Benefits

What Your Employee Benefits Guide Says about Your Company

Steve Harris, CEBS
Steve Harris, CEBS
Development Officer, Employee Benefits

More than a decade ago, in 2007, I attended a client meeting that made me really stop and pause. You see, the purpose of that particular meeting was to go through the final plan designs approved for the next year’s corporate employee benefits roll-out and showcase one of the deliverables our team had promised, a revised version of the company’s annual employee benefits guide. This is the primary communication piece employees receive to assist them in making benefit elections each year during open enrollment.

We slid our draft booklet over to Gloria, the Chief Human Resources Officer for this particular client. As she flipped through each page to get a sense of our efforts, she said, “This will not work for us. None of this looks like our company or our culture.”

Little did I know, this HR officer would teach me a lesson I would never forget. Thankfully, Gloria invested time to help me understand what an employee benefits guide says about an organization.

The Importance of the ‘Right’ Kind of Employee Benefits Guide

As our country is going through social and political unrest, protests, and needed dialogue around race, diversity, and inclusion, I reflected upon what Gloria’s organization taught me years ago. The “right” kind of employee benefits guide should do the following three things:

1. Reflect the Diversity of Your Workforce

The booklet we handed Gloria contained stock images captured from a licensed image gallery — you know the kind, where the family is rolling in the grass because they are so excited about their health insurance. This client employed people of different colors and cultures, yet we handed Gloria a booklet that didn’t reflect her workforce, but rather mirrored the people who selected the images.

2. Get Real about Your People

Back then, the draft guide pictures were replaced with stock images of African American, Latino, Asian, and Caucasian families who resembled the actual workforce. However, in an era where your smart phone is as powerful as most high-end cameras, using stock photos now is just lazy.

Make a concerted effort to use either your professional corporate collateral or create your own style with photos or videos of your people doing things they actually do at work or home.

More companies are using plain language verbiage and sharing real stories (with consent of the user of course). Examples might include how an employee quit smoking, completed a corporate challenge, got immunized, welcomed a new family member into their lives, advanced their education through a training course or degree, or got out of debt.

3. Exhibit a Spirit of Inclusion and Caring

It was cutting edge stuff to include a black and white picture of the CEO in the guide back in 2007. This showed everyone who was in charge.

Today, employee-first cultures feature the people you are caring for each day. Do you think your mail room attendant or receptionist might go home and show their kids they were important enough to get featured in the company communications?

These seemingly small gestures help activate your brand to show you care about each person at your company.

Holmes Murphy Can Help Tailor Your Employee Benefits Guide

An annual employee benefits guide speaks volumes about your company. At Holmes Murphy, we can design benefit guides tailored to your brand in print, digital, or rendered for a mobile device using Holmes Murphy’s Design Navigator platform.

Our communications team can also showcase a multitude of templates customized to your look, feel, tone, style, and delivery preference.

With fall/winter roll-outs for January 1 effective dates around the corner, don’t hesitate to reach out with questions! We can help you get exactly what you need with a tailored approach that fits your company’s diversity, goals, brand, and culture.

Explore more from Holmes Murphy