Authentic employee testimonials are a powerful tool to promote your slate of benefits offerings. When your employees hear about benefits from their peers, they’re more likely to listen and trust their recommendations. These types of “reviews” also increase awareness of your helpful solutions (like ALEX), and showcase the value of HSAs, financial products or other wellness-related perks.
Testimonials are a particularly effective way to connect with employees who aren’t engaging with your other communications, or job seekers who are curious about the benefits you offer.
This all sounds great, right? But when it comes down to how to ask for employee testimonials, and convincing folks to actually do them, that’s the tricky part. Use these ten tips to encourage, create and share employee testimonials that will help promote your benefits offerings all year round.
Tip 1: Understand the value of employee testimonials
First and foremost, as with any project, take time to outline your goals and expected ROI. Having a clearly defined strategy with desired outcomes will help you stay focused throughout this process. Ensure that you (and your team) understand why testimonials offer value to your overall HR operations, as well as engage your team to better utilize their benefits offerings.
Here are just a few benefits you can expect from employee benefits testimonials:
- Inform employees about unknown programs, perks and offerings
- Highlight IRL ways employees can use their benefits
- Encourage year-round benefits engagement (via sharing testimonials more than just at open enrollment)
- Empower staff to make better benefits decisions (saving them and the company money)
Remember, employees are consumers of your benefits—and testimonials are like customer reviews. Social proof is a very powerful tool, and reports show that 92% of consumers agree that reviews impact their decision to purchase or use a business. Those consumers use that same behavior at work and when deciding to use their benefits.
Keep learning! Here’s a complete guide to benefits communication.
Tip 2: Incentivize the process
Your employees are busy, and, in general, people can be a little selfish. It’s human nature. When asked to volunteer for something, we want to know: what’s in it for us? So if your HR process or budget allows, devise ways to incentivize team members to create employee testimonials.
It could be as simple as a coffee gift card, company swag or perhaps you have appreciation points as part of a recognition program. Even a shout-out on your internal intranet or communications can go a long way. Figuring out how to ask for employee testimonials might be as simple as what you can offer in return.
Tip 3: Use employee testimonial examples to inspire your team
Whenever you’re asked to perform a new task, isn’t it helpful to see a sample of the result? The answer is a resounding yes. Especially when it’s a project that might put people out of their comfort zone, like getting in front of a camera or sharing personal details with others.
Record employee video examples, using yourself or another HR team member to offer inspiration to your staff. It can be real feedback from your own benefits experience or use hypotheticals just to give a sense of what you’re looking for.
You could also send out a list of bullet points of the specific areas you’d like people to focus on in their testimonials. For instance:
- “I saved X amount on taxes by putting money in an HSA.”
- “If you’re not meeting the company 401K match, you’re saying no to free money. I received X amount last year.”
- “I really enjoyed using ALEX during open enrollment. It made a confusing process clear and kinda fun!”
Tip 4: Creatively ask for volunteers
When it comes time to ask for employee testimonials, you can’t just send an email and wait for them to roll in. You’ve got to actively recruit team members to get on board. Cover all your communication bases — email, company intranet, Slack channels, meeting announcements, etc.
Try to get a range of folks that represent the diverse 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. Instead, reach out for new faces and voices.
To make the process easier and a bit more organized, create a list of employee testimonial video questions for people to answer. For instance:
- What benefit have you found most helpful?
- What specific part of your benefits packages has saved you the most money?
- What program or tool made your life easier at open enrollment? (like ALEX!)
- Do you have any tips for employees choosing a new health plan?
- Which mental health-related benefit helped you or your family members personally?
- What’s something you wish you would have known sooner as far as financial wellness-related benefits (i.e., taking advantage of 401K match, investing unused HSA funds, etc.)?
Tip 5: Be open to different testimonial formats
Video is king as far as content goes — viewers retain 95% of a message when obtained via video.
But, not everyone will have the time or willingness to step in front of a camera. So it’s better to take a flexible approach when gathering employee testimonials. Just think outside the box on how you can use them.
For instance, if folks send quick emails with a few sentences about their experience, those quotes can be integrated into your year-round benefits communications. If you’re promoting HSA usage, throw in a quote from a real team member about how they benefited from theirs’. Or you can repurpose that quote into a quick graphic that you post in your internal intranet or Slack channel as a reminder.
Perhaps you don’t get an overwhelming response to your initial request for testimonial videos. Don’t get discouraged! Instead, pivot and try out a new approach. You could send out a survey with specific questions for folks to answer (like the list from Tip #4) via Google Forms or Survey Monkey. That might be more accessible for shy or busy employees.
Bottom line: Remember that all insights are valuable insights, and you can use any type of personal testimonial to promote your benefits.
Tip 6: Get managers involved
Managers and team leads have better relationships with the employees in their department than HR. They work with them on a daily basis and often know what’s going on in their personal lives.
That’s why it might be better to recruit individual managers to ask their team members to submit a testimonial. Moreover, if you’re looking for specific scenarios, like a new parent who used their healthcare plan for childbirth and adding a new family member, or someone leveraging an HDHP and HSA combo, managers can likely identify those folks.
Tip 7: Be transparent with your goals
Folks will be more willing to participate when they understand what’s involved and the motivations behind the project. Be open with employees that you want people to get more out of their benefits. So, you’re looking for some “shining star” examples to influence others to take action!
You might also want to share where and how you plan to promote these videos.
Tip 8: Always be recording
Anything can be used as a testimonial, and they might happen in unexpected situations, so take a piece of advice from documentary filmmakers and always be recording.
For example, folks might start firing off positive insights when you initially ask for testimonials during an all-hands meeting, so you could record those Zoom calls just in case. Or, if you’re interviewing folks about benefits, you could record (with camera or just audio) to make sure you don’t miss any good quotes.
Create a shared folder to collect any type of testimonial material. You and your team can dump emails in there, video content from meetings, comments from Slack/intranet, and then curate it later.
How to build a year-round employee benefits communication strategy.
Tip 9: Don’t be afraid to edit
It’s perfectly okay to edit for relevance, clarity and length. Whether it’s an employee testimonial video or a written email. You can always trim, shorten or clean it up.
Mine the recordings of your interviews for short, sweet nuggets of testimonial gold. When you find them, don’t be shy about 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 10: Ask for approval before promotion
Once you’ve refined your testimonials, give your subjects a chance to look it over before you publicly share. This is especially important if you’ve made small edits to their testimonials. This final step will put them at ease and give you a chance to correct any mistakes or misunderstandings before it’s too late.