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HR West Takes Oakland By Storm; What PR Pros Learned

March 14, 2017 Jill Gerig

Last week at the HR West conference, HR execs and industry experts traveled to Oakland, CA to discuss trends and innovation in the industry, how to integrate social into an HR marketing strategy, the current political climate and more. Now that the conference has wrapped, we’ve outlined some key takeaways.

At the end of the day, people who are participating in HR and healthcare topics – whether it’s a platform that’s used daily like Namely, or filling out paperwork during open enrollment season – it’s important to remember that employees are consumers too. That trend of treating employees as consumers, with a conversational approach and tapping into social media, was prevalent at the entire conference and in the speaker sessions.

Hot topics

Politics, taxes and healthcare are three highly contentious topics right now yet all three relate to the HR/healthcare industry. With the current political climate, the future of pre-tax savings accounts like a Health Saving Account is unknown. Many companies try to encourage their employees to utilize pre-tax benefits like Health Savings Accounts or Commuter Benefits but, as with many HR topics, employees can get overwhelmed and confused by the terminology.

Tips shared by speakers and companies at HR West were focused on simplicity. When communicating semi-complicated information around HR benefits, especially amidst a tense political environment, approachability is key. Numerous companies have taken this approach – from making HR tools look and feel like Facebook, to using micrographics and kids in advertisements to help translate the info into digestible bites.

Trump’s impact on the workplace

A new study by NCHRA showed that an overwhelming 96 percent of respondents believe cultivating diversity in the workplace is essential for driving innovation.

Greg Morton, the CEO of NCHRA said, "Despite the current politics of borders and immigration, it is generally accepted that companies benefit from cultivating a diverse workforce, but it can be difficult to measure or quantify the impact of diversity on an organization's ability to innovate.”

HR departments are dealing with questions about the future of healthcare and immigrant workforces more than ever, and it’s clear that the current administration is causing some uncertainty in the workplace. 

Takeaways for PR pros

The HR industry is under a microscope right now, with employers, benefits administrators, brokers and employees all asking: what’s next? The chief PR takeaway from HR West, for us, was that when uncertainty abounds, your audiences are looking for clarity and assurances. As a result, simple, personalized and effective communication becomes imperative. 

Tags: Healthcare, Marketing, HR, 2017

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