For many employers, the benefits package they are able to offer employees is a key element of employee retention. Ordinarily, these benefits are highlighted, shared, and explained at an employee benefits fair during the period of open enrollment. But, given current restrictions imposed in response to the coronavirus, many companies, and human resources departments, have been forced to get creative. Because open enrollment only happens for a short period each year, an employee benefits fair is not the type of event that can be simply canceled or postponed. This makes a virtual benefits fair a workable option for both employers and employees! If you have never hosted a virtual event before, you may feel in over your head. To help you properly display benefit options to your employees in a digital format, we’ve put together this guide to hosting virtual employee benefits fairs. [embed]https://youtu.be/asp779lYZGY[/embed]
Traditional benefits fairs have their share of challenges. The logistics can be a nightmare, especially when trying to coordinate a large workforce or coordinate events for thousands of employees spread all over the country. When employees attend an in-person benefits fair, they may have a difficult time absorbing all the information that is being presented to them. Sure, employees can chat with reps about what’s on offer but there are lots of details to take in, consider, and understand in a short period of time. These events often rely on handouts and brief explanations. The reality is 48% of employees do not fully understand the perks and benefits available to them and only 40% say their employers help them to understand what is available to them. Given that benefits are such an important factor in job satisfaction AND security in everyday life, employee benefits fairs need to do a better job of providing information to attendees. Virtual benefits fairs can do this! Here are just a few reasons why you should consider transitioning your benefits fair to a virtual format:
Now that you have a better understanding of why you should consider a virtual employee benefits fair, it’s time to learn the required steps for hosting one properly!
Essentially, a virtual events platform will do all the heavy lifting for you. Choosing a tool like Accelevents can help you verify attendance with registration capabilities, create virtual exhibit booths, enable live chat features, share downloadable content, stream live video presentations, and enable virtual meeting rooms for follow-up discussions. Think about how you want your event to look and feel, then choose the platform that will help you carry out these goals. At the very least, look for a platform that can:
Now that you have decided on a platform, you can get down to planning exactly how the event will take shape. Depending on the type of experience you wish you offer, consider including elements like:
Scheduling your virtual benefits fair needs to be considered from two angles. First, you need to consider how the event fits together. If you are planning to do live presentations or webinars, you will want to avoid scheduling them at the same to that as many people as possible can attend. If it is impossible to do this, consider making the presentations available via download so employees can watch on their own time. Another thing to consider with planning is whether or not the event will be a single day or broken down into smaller, digestible pieces over the course of a few days. Just remember that you do not want to drag out the event for too long as attendees are likely to lose interest. Second, you need to think about when you will hold the event. Are going to hold it during open enrollment or before so employees have time to think about their options before having to choose? It is also important to avoid scheduling the benefits fair around any important company deadlines or holidays. Remember, you want to make this event accessible so avoid planning it during a time when employees are likely to be otherwise occupied.
Now that you have put together the event, it is time to market it to your employees. Start by putting together a small information package so employees know what to expect from the benefits fair and they can begin to prepare any questions they may have. Share the event details with your employees in as many ways as you can. Use all relevant event marketing strategies at your disposal to generate anticipation and excitement. Be sure to:
Once the virtual benefits fair is complete, you will want to collect as much data as you can and evaluate the event. Remember, the only way to improve the event for the future is to learn what worked and what did not work. Luckily a versatile event planning software like Accelevents will have analytics built into the platform. All you need to do is set this up!Once you have the basics in place, you can host a virtual benefits fair every year, but you do not want to make the same mistakes. Learn from each experience so you can better provide your employees with what they both need and want. Ask yourself:
Answering these questions will not only inform your next benefits fair, but it will help you guide internal conversations and communications regarding benefits. Without hardworking employees, your company would struggle. The benefits your employees receive are well-deserved perks and presenting clear information and options to them will boost morale and help them recognize their value to you. A virtual employee benefits fair can help you communicate benefits to your team in a way that is effective, convenient, and budget-friendly. When you are ready to get started planning your event, reach out to Accelevents to learn more about how we can support you in this process.