Travel budgets improve, but webinars still effective for workforce communications

Brantley-JasonThe stock market and economy have shown much improvement since the lows of 2008 to 2009. We remember those dark days, right? All those months spent avoiding retirement account statements, all those hours wasted watching Jersey Shore (ugh), and of course the budget-friendly “staycation.” Families weren’t the only ones getting in on the act when it came to cutting travel costs. Employers moved quickly to adopt webinars as a low-cost, preferred communications channel with employees.

Now that the economy is turning the page, companies are showing a renewed interest in meeting employees or prospective employees face-to-face. What are the implications for webinars? Will “webinar” join “staycation” in the lexicon as a word only accessed in times of trouble? That’s doubtful.

Webinars remain a popular method for workforce communications because of many benefits:

Inexpensive: Most online services cost no more than $100 per month per presenter.
Instant-On: No need to schedule events far into the future and coordinate travel schedules. Launch that new product or deliver that important message at any time via a webinar!
User-Friendly: Today’s webinar programs are easy for presenters to set up and simple for participants to access. Often, it takes one click to participate. Webinars can also be recorded for future playback.
Eco-Friendly: More firms are choosing to demonstrate their environmental awareness by opting for webinars whenever possible.
Greater reach: Stay connected to your distributed workforce and remote employees. Many people choose to receive content electronically. Millennials in particular are highly adjusted to receiving news, information, and training online.

Which method is best for delivering updates or training to employees? Not all messages require us to hop a flight to the next town in order to communicate effectively. Keep both options on the table at all times, and do a “SWAT” analysis to determine which approach works best.

Social: What level of engagement is required in order to reach your objective? Face-to-face meetings offer the highest potential level of social interaction with employees.
When and where: How soon do you need to meet and in how many locations? A webinar is the quickest way to reach multiple locations without time lost to traveling.
Affordability: What’s your budget for communicating the message? Face-to-face meetings are significantly more expensive.
Technology: Do you want to incorporate video, polling, and quizzes? Will you want the event recorded? Modern webinar programs can be quite interactive, and in some situations, employees are better off at their keyboards such as when you’re rolling out new systems and software.

Milliman’s communications consultants are constantly at work helping clients assess the right content and the right mix of channels for delivering training and education, specifically in the areas of employee benefits and retirement planning. Milliman’s in-person and eLearning services can help your employees prepare for a brighter future.

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