The TD Bank Group’s innovative and engaging benefits communication strategy led to its win in the Benefits plan communications category at the 2022 Workplace Benefits Awards on Oct. 18.

“It’s humbling and overwhelming to win this award,” says Darryl Burton, associate vice-president of Canadian and international benefits and well-being at TD. “When we’re trying to plan communications for [more than] 55,000 [plan] members, we want to make sure we have an impact and that we’re representing all of our communities and being as inclusive as possible.”

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The bank was awarded for a program that includes resources such as a video covering how the benefits plan works, a decision-making tool and a postcard sent to employees’ homes, adds Maria Serio, senior manager of Canadian benefits at TD. “This year, we tried a postcard and, in the middle of [the coronavirus pandemic], to get a postcard in the mail as a reminder, employees felt it was a nice personal touch during that [distanced] environment.”

In recent years, the bank noticed unused health-care spending account dollars were increasing to as high as 40 per cent, says Serio, which meant employees were leaving money on the table. “We decided to look at different ways to communicate with [employees] and get them to enrol, get them to utilize the tools and resources that are available.”

TD’s communications strategy centred on a storytelling approach, says Burton, noting while employees already had access to a solid library of core benefits materials, there was no guide to help them navigate these resources.

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“We’re looking at how we can establish a portal that represents all our total rewards programs, but that’s part of a long journey,” he says. “In the short term, we might try short TikTok-style videos just to make sure employees retain the information and understand the importance of the benefits decisions they make on an annual basis.”

All awards finalists were invited to Benefits Canada’s 2022 Healthy Outcomes Conference and Serio says she really appreciated learning from the conference’s panel discussions. “We’ve learned people like different forms of communication — we heard it referenced a lot [during the conference]. So I think that’s something we might take away from [the conference’s panel discussions] and look at how we can continue to make sure employees are engaged, read the communications and make informed decisions.”

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