Planning an employee benefit fair

How to Plan a Successful Benefit Fair

Guide for corporate benefit managers on planning a successful employee benefit fair

It is normally the HR department or Benefits department in any company that is responsible for informing employees of the Benefits that are available to them as employees. An ideal way of doing this is through a benefits fair, where each of the services that the organization providers is showcased to the employees. The person responsible for organizing the benefit fair has quite a big job ahead of them. It is not only important to ensure that the benefits are all represented, but also as important that employees show up to the event.

What Factors Go Into Putting Together a Successful Benefit Fair

The Benefits advisor or HR representatives that organize the fair have to begin planning well in advance making sure a suitable date and appropriate venue is chosen. The date is important as the benefit fair should be held on a day that it does not clash with other company events or major holidays, as this will ultimately result in poor turnout and low staff morale. The last thing the benefit vendor wants to see when they make the effort to attend a benefits fair is low attendance by employees. The benefits fair takes a lot of planning for both vendors and the HR/benefits dept and there is nothing worse than getting it wrong. The planning is time consuming and is not cost effective if vendors send out multiple representatives and there is little employee turnout, therefore good planning is key to the success of a benefit fair. The second most important thing to consider when planning a benefit fair is to ensure employees are aware that the event is taking place. Sending out a memo to employees encouraging them not to schedule meetings during the time of the event will allow employees the opportunity to attend the event.

Overwhelmed HR Employees Deliver Poor Benefit Fairs

In the business world there exists many overwhelmed HR employees and they will often attempt to put on a benefit fair and fail badly. This is often due to the fact that they are only holding the benefit fair because it is on their list of annual deliverables and they do the very minimum required of them, which often results in staff poor turnout or a lack of vendor diversity. The problem is that In many cases there is no metric to qualify if the event was successful and the HR employee is often credited for putting on a great fair when in fact it was terrible. Also, the fair is seen a somewhat lowly task and is often delegated to less-senior HR employees, resulting in a less-than-stellar experience. HR managers should be aware of such failure and should implement metrics that allow them to determine the success or failure of a benefit fair. Some post event questions that should be asked of HR managers is: How many people attended the event? What did attendees think? Why did some employees not attend? What did people expect and what did they actually say they wanted?

One way to get employees to attend the benefits fair is to make attendance mandatory, but this could have a negative effect on employee morale. Many employees may enjoy finding out about the more unusual benefits that are offered as well as the usual health, medical, dental and vision vendors - so it is important to get a range of vendors to come and engage with the employees at a one-to-one level.

There Are Four Basic Factors to a Successful Benefit Fair

  1. A good venue or location
  2. Schedule an appropriate time that avoids holidays and other work deadlines
  3. Good marketing of the event to the employees via email, flyers and signs
  4. A good list of vendors with compelling offers and giveaways that get employees excited