Walk the Walk: The Role of Internal Communicators and Wellness Benefits

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Internal communicators, my dear friends, we need you now more than ever to lead the discussion on the importance of your employees staying mentally and physically resilient.

Why? It’s inherently tied to dollars and cents, and in an industry in which we public relations professionals are constantly evolving our key performance indicators, a surefire way to show your value is to demonstrate how your role can positively impact business results.

But how? Through playing an active role in partnering with your HR team on improving awareness of and activating the use of corporate wellness benefits.

According to a survey by Randstad:

  • 42 percent of employees say they are considering leaving their current jobs because their benefits packages are inadequate.
  • 55 percent have left jobs in the past because they found better benefits or perks elsewhere.
  • 94 percent want their employers to ensure the benefits offered have a meaningful impact on their quality of life.
  • 48 percent of employees report knowing all the perks their employers offer, and only 40 percent say their employers help them understand the available benefits.

My primary takeaway from this survey: Americans have a long way to go to activate the corporate benefits offered by companies.

How does this impact the bottom line? According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), it costs on average more than $4,000 to hire a new employee.

And that’s not just a hard cost. Other time-intensive resources are spent by HR teams recruiting and onboarding.

As internal communications experts, you can act as great partners to your HR teams. It can mean a real difference on the bottom line and, subsequently, your impact on the organization.

Remember, you are an employee also: You are in a unique position to use your employee experience to solve employee problems.

Here are three ways to lean in and partner with your HR team to improve awareness and activation of wellness benefits.

Audit your activity and lead by example. Ask yourself: are you taking advantage of your corporate wellness benefits? One of the best ways to build rapport with your HR teams is to show them that you are supporting the resources and benefits that they have worked hard to secure for their employees. Whether it’s a mobile application with meditation exercises or stipends for gym memberships or at-home exercise equipment, learn about the benefits offered by the company, use them, and report back to HR your experience.

Pilot, test, and iterate. Are you aware of a particular department of your company with extremely high turnover and/or stress and burnout challenges? Offer to partner with HR to run a pilot program that involves increasing awareness of (and subsequently, activating) your corporate wellness benefits to test proof of concept.

Demonstrate your results. Was the amount of turnover of your organization reduced? Were more employees using wellness benefits year over year? Don’t be shy when touting your efforts by playing a critical role in communicating with employees. This doesn’t mean superseding the smart and hard work of your HR department; it’s about elevating your role in impacting business results.

Working with your HR teams will have a win-win. It will show your value, it will show the HR teams that you want to help amplify the work they are doing, and ultimately help you and your fellow employees illustrate that your companies truly value their wellbeing.

For internal communicators, this is your time to shine! Your relationships within your organization and your skills are never more important than they are today! Thank you for all that you’re doing.

Be safe. Be kind. Be well.

Mark Mohammadpour, APR is a strategic communications executive, certified personal trainer, and health coach. His company, Chasing the Sun, offers health coaching tailored for public relations professionals. Mark spent most of his public relations career at Weber Shandwick and Edelman. Throughout his career, Mark led integrated communications programs for more than a dozen global brands, including Adobe, AMD, Microsoft, Samsung, and the U.S. Army. Mark also served as the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Oregon Chapter president in 2016.

Published by Mark Mohammadpour, APR, CPT, CHC (he/him)

An accredited communications executive and certified health coach and personal trainer, Mark Mohammadpour’s (he/him) mission is to empower public relations professionals to prioritize their well-being so they can shine in the family room and the board room. Mark started a journey that led him to lose and keep off more than 150 pounds more than a decade ago. Through that journey, he has developed a practical and actionable approach to help people stay mentally and physically resilient. Before launching Chasing the Sun, Mark was an executive at Weber Shandwick and Edelman, leading award-winning public relations campaigns for global brands, including Adobe, Microsoft, Samsung, and the U.S. Army. Mark served as the PRSA Oregon Chapter president in 2016, is the “Workplace Wellness” columnist for PRSA’s Strategies & Tactics, and was honored to be named an Olga M. Haley Mentorship Award of Distinction recipient in 2020. A proud and lifelong Portland, Oregon-metro area resident, Mark is a graduate of the University of Portland.

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