Communications Challenges amidst Culture Change.

Since 1905, American National Insurance Company (ANICO) has been offering stability to its policyholders through a wide range of insurance and financial products and services. With presence in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, the public company has corporate roots in Texas, Missouri, and New York—and until 2013, these three individual entities operated separately each with different employee demographics, cultures, policies, and benefits. So when ANICO reorganized its multi-location HR team, they uncovered benefits communication as a top challenge when it came to shaping a shared culture that values what employees have in common and what makes them unique.

ANICO conducted a pair of employee surveys in 2014 and 2016 that helped them get a better pulse on the opinions of their 3,300 home office workers and 1,500 remote and field agents. According to Sandra Hemstreet, a project specialist on the Total Rewards team headed by Melanie Toliver (Director of Total Rewards), “We found that there was low employee engagement, and we weren’t doing a good enough job of communicating benefits throughout the year.” It was leading to information overload during Open Enrollment time and employees were looking for more consistent communications.

Reinforcing the Value of Total Rewards by Communicating like Marketers

ANICO developed a Total Rewards communications team to serve as a single information source for the entire organization. Their goal was to communicate a consistent and branded message to the dispersed workforce, from benefits information to messages from the CEO. The team quickly focused on modernizing their technology systems and processes to better address their employee communications goals, starting with on-boarding. “The workforce wants and expects technology to be used,” Hemstreet stresses, “and so we worked with GuideSpark to incorporate multimedia content into our revamped on-boarding process.”

From there, the Total Rewards team set to work on developing a “Hidden Paycheck” campaign, part of a directive from their CEO to improve employee perception of the value of their Total Rewards. It was an opportunity to educate employees more regularly on how benefits contribute to total compensation. They partnered with GuideSpark to launch a multi-touch, multi-channel campaign that lasted the remainder of the year, leading up to the distribution of total compensation statements. Employees had access to a consistent flow of benefits information via the company intranet, videos, posters, and more, enabling them to learn about programs at their convenience.

Saving HR Time & Improving Employee Experience

While the campaign is still ongoing, communicating with employees over a period of months and over multiple channels is already proving to be a winning formula. The Total Rewards team has significantly reduced its new hire orientation by at least 3 hours per week. “Employees are now able to enroll in benefits on day one,” reported Hemstreet. And, since employees are learning about their benefits all year long—engaging with the Total Rewards team as they have questions—the team anticipates a smoother and more efficient open enrollment process this year and a better employee experience all-around.

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