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A graphic of various components included in Total RewardsDoes your communications strategy around employee benefits include translating employee benefit communications such as Total Rewards statements, pension benefit statements, and health and well-being program options? Maybe you already have a strategic communication plan around employee benefits, or you’ve recently created a total rewards program and are seeking guidance for how to get your employees on board. In this post, we’ll cover strategies for employee benefit communications, as well as how translating these assets can help you leverage your communication strategy, and your great benefits, to their full potential.

According to compensation consultant Zachary Weinberger, the 5 main objectives of an employee benefit communications program are:

  1. Awareness
  2. Understanding
  3. Appreciation
  4. Engagement
  5. Retention

A Venn diagram showing a multichannel communications strategy in translating employee benefit communicationsInstead of relying on a single method to bring awareness to your total rewards program, sending information and reminders over various channels increases the likelihood that you’ll get your employees’ attention and that they’ll remember what’s available to them. Weinberger recommends using platforms like in-person presentations, direct mail post cards, emails, online portals, and social media to share information about Total Rewards and other employee benefits. Thanks to Language Solutions’ computer assisted translation (CAT) software and standard operating procedures, we are able to seamlessly translate all these types of content. Trados Studio works with PowerPoint presentations, SRT subtitle files, design documents, and HTML files, among others.

Translating employee benefit communications can be integral to the understanding piece of your strategy. But in our experience with plain language writing and translation, it is imperative that the source document be at the desired reading level before translation even begins. The same idea can apply to employee benefit information, too. Once you have a clear and informative Total Rewards statement, pension statement, or benefit newsletter written in English, you can rest assured that our translation teams will carry your strategic message over into the translated text.

If you choose to have a live Q&A session with benefits leaders, as recommended by GuideSpark, you may want to consider including an interpreter as well. It is important to note that an interpreter will not be an expert on your employee benefits options – their job is to communicate what is being said, not to answer questions themselves. This can still be an invaluable resource in a Q&A setting, where an employee with limited English proficiency (LEP) might not otherwise be able to engage in a meaningful way, or benefit from the answers being given to other questions asked. We see this happen quite frequently in settings such as town halls and school board meetings, where an interpreter can provide linguistic access to LEP residents.

Employees who understand the benefits available to them are more likely to appreciate those benefits – it’s that simple. And an employee who might struggle to understand their benefits when they are presented in English may be more likely to appreciate their employer when they receive benefit communications in their first language. As we’ve written about before, providing translations of HR documents can help assure LEP employees that you recognize and value their contributions, which can increase engagement and satisfaction.

A survey being taking on a mobile device, an image one might see when translating employee benefit communicationsEmployee benefit communications also provide various outlets for engagement, which is an important marker of satisfaction and retention. You can offer the opportunity to provide feedback on every communication you deliver, whether that is an invitation to participate in a survey or to simply provide commentary – negative or positive! You can also measure engagement by how many associates enroll in benefit programs. If enrollment numbers are low, you may need to rethink your communications strategy. And if enrollment numbers are particularly low among LEP employees, you may need to rethink your translation strategy.

According to Rebecca Shipley, principal of HR firm Innovative Total Rewards “employers who effectively communicate their compensation and total rewards programs are one big step ahead of the competition.” Depending on your workforce, translation may be part of that effective communication.

In addition to diversifying your platforms, it can also be beneficial to release your employee benefit communications throughout the year. This is where a Total Rewards statement comes in. Just like employees are regularly reminded of their base salary through their pay stub or direct deposit, a regular Total Rewards statement ensures that they are seeing the value of the additional benefits provided to them. FAQ documents and/or newsletters, whether monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly, can also be a beneficial tool to increase awareness and create more opportunities for engagement. They can make benefit information less overwhelming, too. Providing a comprehensive informational packet is important but sending out a newsletter highlighting a certain type of benefit may mitigate information overload and help your employees focus on what they can really gain from each offering.

An important consideration when creating these assets, according to HR services firm Higginbotham, is branding. We have quite a bit of experience with corporate branding, and our translation memory and terminology solutions ensure that we maintain consistent language across all your communications. We also work with regular teams for each of our clients. This allows the team to bring the same voice and tone to each new project.

Spanish open enrollment guides, an example of translating employee benefit communicationsWe also have extensive experience translating open enrollment materials, pension benefit statements, and health and well-being rewards program information. Pension benefit statements can be particularly tricky because they often contain a significant amount of variable text. For example:

Dear <First Name> <Last Name>,

The text above in brackets will be replaced, and therefore does not need to be translated. Our CAT software enables us to manipulate that text in various ways so that translators can work around it without losing the context it provides to the surrounding text. It also generates the final translated document with all the variable text still in place. Then the computer program that replaces it can function in the same way that it does with the source document.

Apples, a stopwatch, a jump rope, a hand weight, and a flexed muscle to represent health and well being optionsHealthcare translations, also one of our areas of expertise, so whether you offer a program to help employees quit smoking, a support program for employees with diabetes, a COVID-19 vaccine initiative, or all three (and more!), you can rely on us to get it right. With the global pandemic and exposure of health inequities, now is the time to provide your employees with all the information in their language to help them get access to the benefits that are a fit for them.

Translating employee benefit communications may be the next step towards ensuring that your entire workforce is aware of, understands, appreciates, and engages with the great benefits options available to them. Don’t let your efforts and investment in those options go to waste! If you have questions or would like to learn more, we’d love to hear from you!