I was just speaking with an individual who wants to relocate from Spain to the United States. He's often wondered what it would be like to live in America and decided to pursue a job search 4,000 miles from his home.
I'm always fascinated by the inspiration individuals find by completely changing their lives with an international relocation.
But it got me thinking: Does this man really know what he's getting himself into? He's spent a great deal of time researching his target markets and how to sell his candidate profile, but what about other stuff, like employee benefits?
With some help from our marketing friends, benefits can have as much allure to relocating workers as the exotic magnetism of experiencing life on another continent.
Through traditional branding efforts like newsletters, Web sites and in-person presentations, as well as Branding 2.0 methods in social media, benefits can help sell your company to foreign workers.
In the international benefits world, how can you make your benefits package attractive to individuals of different nationalities? Think global and act local.
To put this in perspective, imagine a room full of 100 Americans. Is it reasonable to provide 100 different benefit communications tailored to each of them? Probably not, but the company can begin to brand its benefits to larger groups of people, such as native language or union versus nonunion.
Be mindful, though, that a shared language doesn't equal shared culture, considering the vast cultural differences between Americans, Brits, Canadians and Australians - even though English is spoken widely in all four nations.
Make it social
Use your company intranet or other portal as a place for employees to discuss benefits among themselves, and thus how your company's offerings might be made more attractive to workers outside their ranks.
For example, Best Buy's Blue Shirt Nation is the brainchild of a couple of Best Buy employees who created an internal social network to help the company's 140,000 employees share problems and swap tips.
I thought this was a brilliant idea to encourage employees to connect, even if the majority of employees are all within the United States. Perhaps your company's benefits team could emulate this idea to foster a grassroots exchange about how best to brand the organization's benefits.
Although benefits branding via social media still is a developing area, I predict it will be an integral part of HR communications in the future.
Beyond the now well-known Twitter, blog and Facebook venues, using free sites such as slideshare.net can build your social media branding capabilities by allowing presenters to host free PowerPoint presentations with voice-over. You can have different language voice-overs available for prospective employees of other tongues.
Make it paperless
Recently, my company drastically scaled back the printing of its benefits newsletter. Although it was a huge culture change, I designed a custom newsletter with my company's branding that allowed for the same look and feel employees were used to.
While we ultimately determined that several areas would continue to benefit from making print copies of the newsletter, the company has saved about $12,000 in printing costs - which can be put to such better use, like bringing in benefit speakers to discuss retirement planning, development opportunities and rewards for recognition.
Going paperless has also enabled some of the most successful employee outreach I've experienced through in-person training programs or webinars that allow the benefits team to touch individuals on a personal level.
When appropriate, and when the opportunity presents itself, try to share presentations in various languages to be sure that everyone - including workers who might be seeking out your company from overseas -has an opportunity to understand the benefits you offer.
Get several opinions
Lastly, get multiple opinions from your marketing team, colleagues and end-users for their perspective on how to effectively brand your benefits offerings to foreign candidates. Benefit communications are worthless if the end-user is unsure about how to interpret your message.
Contributing Editor Emily Chardac is an HR professional with degrees in human resources and international business. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow EBN on: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Podcasts
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