EBN’s annual i-COMM Awards recognize the best in internal communication of benefits. In this four-part series, we highlight this year’s winners, including Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., winner of Best Print or Online Newsletter.

Like most employers, Takeda sought to promote the value and full potential of benefits, compensation and HR programs for its “Takeda's Got It!” campaign, as well as strategically position the benefits package as a key component to retaining and engaging a high-performance workforce. And in keeping with the pharmaceutical industry’s mission to improve lives, the underlying theme of the newsletter was to help its 5,000 employees and their families achieve greater health and well-being, including a better work-life balance.

An employee newsletter was distributed every quarter in both print and electronic form — with the latter including embedded links to online resources on the corporate intranet and external websites. Content addressed traditional benefits news, personal career development and retirement planning, featuring a fresh and engaging look so that messages would resonate with employees.

The newsletter’s October issue helped supplement enrollment materials, highlight important plan updates, anticipate employee and dependent questions about their coverage, and promote clarity amid all the ACA-related confusion. The campaign is credited with helping contribute to a 37% reduction in enrollment-related calls over the past three years to 572 from 908 calls.

Also see: AECOM campaign educates employees on merits of CDHPs

Roughly 47% of Takeda employees elected to be covered under the company’s PPO plan featuring a high-deductible health plan and health savings account, whose balance can be invested when it reaches $1,000. HSA participants also are eligible for the Alliant Credit Union emergency medical loan program, which enables them to borrow up to $3,500 a year interest-free to help cover expenses and take up to one year to repay the loan.

Other noteworthy benefits include a flexible work path program and an ability to carry over paid vacation time. Employees also have access to many resources to help plan for retirement, including one-on-one financial planning guidance with FINRA-licensed professionals. Takeda’s Be Well wellness program supports employee health and well-being by providing information, resources and tools that encourage good health care choices and healthy lifestyles.

This commitment to employee welfare extends to retirement with Takeda’s Retiree Medical Plan, which features a monthly subsidy for those who were 55 or older when they retired (short of age 65) with 10 or more years of service to the company. Takeda’s complete benefits offerings prioritize the types of programs that employees value the most — those that help them and their loved ones stay healthy, achieve work-life balance and succeed professionally.

Erin Green, Takeda’s employee communications manager, reports that the company’s benefits communications effort eventually will reach employees around the world with consistent and compelling messages. “We will continue to make use of technology to facilitate effective global communication, including investigating the possibility of a dedicated online presence for benefits news and other information about the benefits of working at Takeda,” she says.

Green singles out Deb Gustafson, associate director, communications, for valuable contributions that included developing the company’s total rewards communication strategy.

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