Our virtual hiring event platform hosts hundreds of events each month. While many of our clients use our tools to recruit new employees, there’s a growing trend among companies using virtual events to support their existing workforce and offer a superior employee journey. Virtual benefits fairs are a creative way to use Brazen to distribute information to employees while maintaining social distancing standards, and it’s a perfect fit for organizations with employees at multiple locations or who are working remotely.
We previously explored the best practices for virtual benefits fairs on the blog, and today we’re diving deeper by outlining a step-by-step guide to hosting virtual benefits fairs on the Brazen platform. Beware, though. Once you read this article, you may feel inspired to start planning your own virtual benefits fair. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. (It’ll be worth it!)
Step 1: Make a Marketing Plan for Your Virtual Benefits Fair
Just like with virtual recruiting events, you need to create a plan for getting the word out on all internal communication channels about your virtual benefit fair. This is a great way to share about your organization's benefit options for new employees and during open enrollment. Once you set the date, work with your organization’s communication team to help spread the word through employee newsletters and intranet sites, as well as emails and physical marketing materials. Remind managers to mention the event in staff meetings as well.
You also need to prepare your presenters, including both internal and external benefits experts before the event. Ensure that vendor benefit plan messaging aligns with your organization's. Send training materials to your benefits vendors in advance so that they know how to set up their booth with the appropriate materials and how to use the communication options. Make sure they know how to get help during the event if they run into any issues (with Brazen, our live chat is a great way to make sure your guests get fast, easy-to-reach technical support). Designating a staff member as a point person for other questions about your specific event should have you covered!
Step 2: Organize and Schedule Representative Interactions in Advance
While some employees may just be looking for basic benefits information, such as materials or presentations they could access in the resources tabs of vendor booths, others may want a deeper dive into the various services and requirements offered by certain partner vendors, or may have specific questions key need addressed. On the Brazen platform, you can do both! With features like Scheduled Chat, attending representatives can already plan in advance how many one-to-one conversations they'll have with interested employees who have specific questions to address. Scheduled Chat helps reduce attendee wait times and also ensures that they get to talk to the right person from the start.
Vendors may also wish to host topical workshops, Q&As, discussions, or presentations that are better conducted in smaller groups. For that, Brazen also offers Group Video as a way to host interactive meetings or sessions with multiple attendees at once, in addition to larger broadcast video booths, which allow you to broadcast live videos to large numbers of attendees.
These different booth options not only let vendors know how many representatives to staff well before the start of the event in a way that uses their time most efficiently, but also allows for more personalized interactions to make the benefits fair experience all the more valuable and engaging to attending employees.
Step 3: Craft Your Welcome Message
Every great virtual benefits fair begins with a welcome message to employees. Brazen’s Broadcast video feature is the perfect tool for delivering a welcome message in your online event, typically by your benefits manager or administrator. The presentation should let employees know about any big changes, key features, or new offerings, and explain the structure of the benefits fair and include tips on using the platform or where to go for help.
Schedule your online benefits fair to last three to six hours, to give employees with different schedules a chance to join when it's the right time for them. You may decide to broadcast the welcome message live at the beginning of the event, but make sure to save the video so employees who join later can still see it.
Step 4: Determine How Many and Which Booths You’ll need
Ideally, you’ll have at least one vendor booth for each benefits provider, if they have representatives available and willing to participate. Invite all your benefits vendors, including medical, dental, retirement savings, life insurance, gyms, and even internal wellness programs staffed by your team. Each booth can be a different type of interaction, so vendors can tailor the experience to fit their brand, goals, and communication style. Brazen virtual booths can be set up in multiple ways during a live event, such as as text only, text, video, and audio, live video broadcasts, group video, and open networking booths, to mention a few. Some vendors may wish to have multiple types of booths to provide different ways to connect with attendees, and your organization may also wish to set up several booth types so your team can also connect directly with attendees as well.
If benefits providers aren’t participating, you may still want to have a booth for each plan or offering, and staff it with an internal benefits team member who can answer employees’ questions about general benefits choices or that particular plan or option.
Step 5: Answer All the Questions
Employees typically come to benefits fairs with a lot of questions, ranging from plan coverage to copays to tax issues. Offer multiple options for employees to ask questions (and consider sending a pre-event survey to collect questions ahead of time so you can proactively answer broad questions in in your initial presentation). The Brazen platform makes it possible for participants to submit questions during live Q&A sessions or to schedule one-on-one meetings with a benefits administrator to ask questions later.
Sharing a metric ton of benefits information doesn’t exactly sound like a party, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your virtual benefits fair fun. Consider challenging employees to do a scavenger hunt, or create a digital passport they can get ‘stamped’ at each booth, to encourage employees to visit every booth. Feature Open Networking Booths to encourage attendees from different departments to connect with one another in between presentations. At the end of the event, you can even raffle off some fun prizes to encourage participation (make sure you advertise this when you promote the event).
Step 5: Follow Up
Of course, you’ll still want to make sure that all your employees have received the benefits information they need. But unlike traditional benefits fairs, virtual ones can actually help you keep track of who showed up. Use Brazen’s event analytics to see who attended the event, and follow up with those who missed it to schedule one-on-one meetings if necessary. Record any broadcasts of presentations so you can easily share them with people who missed the live event. You can also use follow ups to remind employees of submission deadlines for new enrollments and changes, as well as any other updates they need to know.
Many Benefits of Virtual Events
As the way we work continues to evolve, with more and more need to connect virtual and hybrid teammates to the organization in interactive online experiences, we’re continually amazed and impressed by the creative ways our clients are using our virtual events platform, and we’ll keep sharing the great examples as we learn about them. Hosting a virtual benefits fair shows your employees you’re committed to their safety as well as their continued access to crucial health benefits and other employee perks. You may not be able to solve all the problems of the world but you can do a lot to support your employees and let them know you care. A virtual benefits fair is just the tip of the iceberg.