Building a business case for communications
Is your employee benefits scheme getting the take-up rates you hoped for? If not, you’re not alone. A recent study by Unum found that up to 81% of employees were not aware of specific benefits being offered by their employer.
Our research shows that the number of communication channels used has a direct impact on take-up rates. As a result of using multiple communication methods to reach all demographics, one of our energy clients saw their flexible benefits take-up reached a new record, with 94% of employees having active choices.
As our Head of Engagement, Simon Andrew says “Communications are the face of the scheme; it’s the relationship you build, the trust and the loyalty. If you don’t invest here your face may be weary and uninteresting, if indeed seen.”
Effective communication is integral to creating an engaging and successful benefits scheme, as it:
- Increases awareness and boosts employee understanding of the benefits on offer and what that means for them
- Generates interest and excitement around the scheme
- Nurtures the relationship between a company and its employees
We understand that persuading your organisation to invest in communications isn’t an easy task. So with that in mind we’ve created a step-by-step guide detailing what you need to include in your business case for communications. From sections to include, points to explain and outcomes to consider, we’ve got it covered.
Be as clear and transparent as possible. Explain the issue that you wish to address. There’s no need to describe how you intend to overcome the problem at this point, just explain what it is and the organisational impact of it.
You may find that this is the last section of the business case that you complete. The reason for this is that the executive summary should typify the subsequent document.
The one size fits all approach just isn’t fit for purpose anymore. There’s no such thing as a typical employee. Look at it this way; you wanted to be treated like an individual and so do your employees. So base your executive summary on two things; your objectives and your audience.
Your end goal will determine the direction and approach that your company takes. So it’s important that you cover all eventualities.
Summarize the approach you plan to take to address your business issue. Detail the achievements that could be made by moving forwards with the proposed project. The best approach is to make a list of your expected outcomes and then explain how these would come to fruition.
Explain how implementing your initiative would impact the business and back up your recommendations with statistics and industry knowledge.
Employees will only see the value of their benefits if you communicate them effectively.
A report by Unum showed that “A typical organisation with 1,000 employees is losing £470,000 a year in increased staff turnover and absence due to lack of communications.”
Employee engagement is directly linked to business performance results. To help you determine how successful your current communications are you need to consider these two questions: Who is your end user? What makes them tick? Only then can you evaluate your KPIs.
It’s essential to set some time aside to assess and benchmark how your current communications are working and what ROI they are delivering. That way you can measure the worth of what you currently have in place versus what you plan to implement.
It pays to invest in communications. Research carried out Cass Business School in association with Unum found that “Failing to tell staff about the employee benefits on offer is costing UK companies £2.7bn each year, through increased turnover and sickness absence.”
Calculate your proposed project’s costs and the benefits involved. Engagement and ROI are intertwined. You can’t achieve one without the other. So identify how your revised communications strategy would impact staff resource and turnover. You could make some significant savings. Imagine if you could achieve 5% or 10% increase in take-up rates.
In this section you need to summarise your business case. Here are some of the information you’ll need to include:
Performance – Explain how will the project will affect the business day to day. Make sure you take all factors into account.
Technology – You may need to upgrade or migrate your existing software to deliver the new approach. Time taken to implement and test the technology needs to be considered.
Assumptions – Take what you already about the business and your initiative and build upon it. You are perfectly positioned to give an informed forecast of how you see the project going, the outcomes and any future development work required.
Constraints – Every business has them so be realistic in your overview. You may find that something that is currently out of your reach becomes feasible later on, so it’s worth accounting for any constraints.
Project milestones – Create a roadmap of your strategy and focus on the major milestones and the work associated with them.
Strategic alignment – Detail how your proposed project will work alongside your existing strategy and core objectives.
Alternatives – It’s always advisable to supply alternative solutions when creating a business case. That way if one of your initiatives gets the green light, but another doesn’t, you have a back-up plan. It also helps to keep your plan fluid.