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Problems with webinars for employee benefits communication

In the course of my career I’ve personally delivered hundreds if not thousands of webinars and web meetings. I was even a guest presenter to 500 attendees of an event provided by Citrix Online (makers of web conferencing software GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar) on how to deliver effective online events.

When it comes to employee benefits communication, webinars or web meetings have some significant challenges. Yes, webinars are an efficient way to broadcast your message to a dispersed audience (employees, telecommuters, field staff, shift workers, multi-locations, dependents at home), who can’t attend an on-site meeting. I’m a huge believer in efficiency, but equally in effectiveness.

So here’s the big problem with webinars for employee benefits communication – attention span. Just think about webinars where you have been an attendee. Even when the presenters are VERY good, and the content is VERY interesting or important, most of us who have attended webinars of 30-45 minutes at some point will find ourselves “drifting.”

Drifting can take the form of simply turning away from the screen, getting up to do something else, or most commonly, opening a new browser window or tab, and multi-tasking elsewhere as the webinar continues. When drifting occurs, your message is drowned out and the communication, while efficient, loses its effectiveness.

Distributing recorded webinars is even less effective! Again, think about webinars you signed up for but missed. No problem, right…the presenters sent out a link to a recording of the event. Aside from the usually poor audio quality, background noise, questions you can’t hear, etc. how many of us really sit through a slug of 30-45 minutes of content on our computer screen?

Content needs to be delivered in “chunks.” Just think about how magazine and newspaper articles are written – in paragraphs…chunks of information. The person consuming the content (in this case your webinar attendee)  has so many distractions, and the content is usually not sufficiently “chunked” the end result is they often drift, you lose them.

So when presenting employee benefits communication and messages to your audience, keep in mind their attention span, put yourself in their shoes, and find ways to deliver content that can be engaging and consumed in chunks. Do that, and you’re on your way to both efficient and effective employee benefits communication. Win-win.

Video Benefits Meeting can serve as a “virtual 24/7” resource for your benefits meetings and communication to help drive efficiency and effectiveness.

Want to see how? Just click here.