Sincere employee testimonials can be a powerful tool for promoting HR resources and programs. When your employees hear about benefits from their peers, they’re more likely to listen, and they’re more likely to remember what they hear. Testimonials can increase awareness of helpful solutions (like ALEX), highlight the value of an HDHP, promote your HSA and other financial products, and more.
Testimonials are particularly useful for connecting with employees who aren’t engaging with your other communications, or with job candidates who are curious about the benefits you offer.
If your open enrollment takes place at the end of the year, then late summer or early fall is the optimal time to create your testimonials. Here are some tips:
Tip 1: Decide what you’re going to share—and where
Be strategic and specific. Figure out in advance which resources you’d like to promote—pick one or two things to focus on—and then choose the central insight you want the testimonial to convey. Examples:
“I saved X amount on taxes by putting money in an HSA.”
“If you’re not meeting the company retirement match, you’re saying no to free money.”
“I really enjoyed using [the company’s new benefits decision tool]. It made a confusing process clear and kinda fun!”
Know in advance how you plan to deliver these testimonials to your employees. If they’re videos, you could share them in an email, put them in a prominent location on your intranet, or share them over a chat tool like Slack. If they’re print testimonials, could include them in an email, your benefits guide, or in flyers you share at your benefits fair.
Tip 2: Call for volunteers
Once you’ve got a plan, you’re ready to recruit some volunteers. Try to get a range of folks that represents the range of demographics in your organization—different ages, positions, departments, health care needs and everything else that’s relevant to your mix of employees. Avoid the pitfall of only recruiting people you know personally. Reach out for new faces and voices.
Send a company-wide email asking for volunteers, put an article in the employee newsletter, post something on your online portal, or ask managers across multiple departments to promote your efforts in team meetings.
Tip 3: Be upfront about what you’re looking for.
Your employees will be more comfortable sharing their stories if they know what’s involved. When asking for volunteers, be upfront and transparent about what you want to hear, what they’ll get for participating, and how long the process will take. Also let them know what form their testimonial will take (video, text with a picture, etc.) and where it will appear (public email, intranet, printed flyer).
Don’t be shy about asking for people who fit a specific benefits profile or had a specific experience. If you’d like to hear from employees who used their HSA or a financial wellness tool for the first time, or who chose an urgent care center instead of an ER, say so.
Tip 4: Be flexible with your interviews
Depending on the size or layout of your company, it may not be possible to sit down with certain employees face-to-face. And some employees will be willing to share their stories, but may balk at the prospect of having their picture taken or appearing in a video.
So be flexible. If you can’t arrange an in-person interview with an employee working at a remote branch, see if you can set up a video call. If the VP of Very Important Things can’t make time for a video interview, ask for a short chat to get some simple text quotes. If a talkative employee gets really shy in front of the camera, ask if they’d be more comfortable with an audio-only interview. Adapt your approach to meet the needs of the situation and the comfort level of your volunteers.
Tip 5: Record your interviews
This goes without saying if you’re planning videos, but if even you’re just going for text quotes, record your interviews. Sometimes you’ll review the recording and find something magical you missed during the actual interview. And you don’t have to spend a fortune on recording gear.
For face-to-face interviews without video, the audio recording app you probably already have on your phone will probably work fine. For a telephone interview, you can arrange to use a conference calling line so you can take advantage of the service’s recording feature—there are even free conference calling services (we like using FreeConferenceCall.com). If you’d prefer to use your smartphone, there are some apps for recording your phone calls (we like using TapeACall and Call Recorder). And obviously, if you’re recording an interview on video, the audio will be included with the video file.
Tip 6: It’s okay to clean things up
Mine the recordings of your interviews for short, sweet nuggets of testimonial gold. When you find them, don’t be shy about editing and polishing them a little. You shouldn’t keep every audible “um” or “ah” to be authentic, and you don’t need to present everything in the exact order in which it was spoken. Sometimes an off-hand phrase someone says at the end of the interview serves as a perfect opening line. Choose the best moments and arrange them to tell the best story.
Tip 7: Ask for courtesy approval before your share
Once you’ve got the testimonial edited and polished, give your subjects a chance to look it over before you publicly share it. This is especially important if you’ve made small edits to their interview answers. This final step will put them at ease, and give you a chance to correct any mistakes or misunderstandings before it’s too late.