This is the first of three parts of our coverage of the Vancouver Benefits & Pension Summit. Part 2 was published on Tuesday and Part 3 was published on Wednesday.

In our fast-paced world where humans are bombarded every single day with thousands of messages, it’s no wonder that conventional communication strategies are quickly becoming obsolete. How can employers cut through the babble to encourage employees to fully leverage their benefits and retirement offerings, to maximize participation and to launch and sustain health and wellness programs?

“Two words we desperately need today are engagement and persuasion,” said Tony Chapman, founder and CEO of Capital C, during his keynote presentation at the 2013 Benefits & Pension Summit held September 24 in Vancouver. “Organizations need to move the conversation away from being a provider of benefits and ancillary services to becoming an enabler of an individual’s life and livelihood. They need to create an arresting narrative that both engages and persuades employees to act.”

Chapman went on to explain that giving employees a purpose that goes beyond bringing home a paycheque is essential to engagement. “Employees expect constant affirmation and confirmation and they need to care about a purpose,” he said, adding that workers who spend the day hewing rock may look at their job simply as hewing rock or they may envision their role in building a great cathedral made from the rocks. “We need to do a better job of selling the ‘great cathedral’ because sometimes we forget why we are doing something.”

When designing communication programs that fully engage employees, organizations must think about the head, heart and hand. “You need to make it easy to understand and easy to share and sell,” Chapman said. “You need to simplify the message but connect to employees’ hearts by encouraging the belief that you are helping them to educate their children, obtain critical illness insurance that protects their family and save for a comfortable retirement.”

An entertaining storyteller himself, Chapman stressed how telling stories is the most effective way to engage and persuade people who are overwhelmed by messages that all seem the same. “Great stories identify where your audience is in life and where they want to be,” he said. “The more personalized and empathetic the stories are the better they will engage the audience. You need to paint a picture that shows them what role the organization can play to help them reach where they want to be.”

The days of sharing stories around the campfire or the water cooler may have waned thanks to the internet and social media. But rapidly evolving technology—especially various forms of social media—can be effective tools for communicating information and stories that connect, engage and persuade. “You need courage to allow others to tell their story such as how critical illness insurance helped them,” Chapman said. “The idea is to plant a seed that someone else wants to share.”

With so many people feeling uncertain and nomadic these days in response to economic restructuring, Chapman reiterated that organizations can attract, retain and motivate employees by getting them to believe they are sharing their lives with a great purpose. “We need to talk more about the great cathedral.”


Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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Craig Hewson:

This short recap of Tony’s talk is “bang on”…great presentation by Tony…”lives and livelihood”…”head, heart and hand”…!!

Tuesday, October 08 at 9:59 am | Reply

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