Problems that HR teams face when conducting benefit fairs for organizations with excessive restrictions
What is an Employee Benefit Fair?
Employee Benefits fairs are designed to raise the employee’s awareness of the extra benefits and perks that the employer offers. Often socializing these perks is difficult for HR as employees often fail to read the HR handbook or read HR emails. The benefit fairs occur bi-annually or annually and are usually in the Spring and/or Fall. The benefits range from the usual medical, health and dental insurance all the way to discounted tickets for shows, parks and sporting events. Employers offer many different benefits and the benefit fair is a great way to communicate them to the workforce. The fairs generally take place from mid-morning into the lunchtime hours, thus encouraging employees to leave their desks and take a look at what is on offer. The most successful Benefit fairs are well advertised within the company and often offer some sort of free food to the employees to show appreciation and to drive them to attend. The type of employees who attend the events varies, some people are there simply for the free food and anything else they can grab, whereas others are genuinely there to gather information for a particular benefit. The main thing that attracts employees to each of the vendor tables is the free giveaways. The employees are always looking to see what goodies they can take away with them.
Kean College Benefit Fair Case Study
At Corporate Offers, we are lucky enough to be able to raffle off two tickets for one of the shows that are offering discounts through our website. Who wouldn't like that? It is exactly the type of thing that attracts employees to the table and drives traffic the benefit fair, however, some employers do not make it easy for us to participate in their employee benefit fair.
Kean College Benefit Fair Fall 2019
During the recent Fall 2019 benefit fair season, we were invited to attend an event at Kean University in Union NJ. Kean is a state of NJ college that is best known for its programs in humanities, social sciences and education. With an annual enrollment of almost 12,000 students and 1200 employees, it seems like a worthwhile benefit fair which would have large turnout. The Kean benefit fair seemed like an easy one for us to attend however this was not to be the case.
The Kean College Raffle and Giveaway Challenge
The foremost challenge we were faced with at Kean College was that they said we would not be able to conduct a raffle for our free Broadway show tickets. This raffle is our main drawing point for employees, so we were a little confused so needed some clarification on the matter. We were informed by the HR contact at Kean that the ‘ethics department’ would not allow any raffles or giveaways. The reason being is that they did not want to offer any employees a perk that non-employees would not have access to, especially if the item has some monetary value. Obviously this does not apply to their salary, bonus, medical benefits and 401k, because these are all benefits that only employees can get because they work for the state. All other benefits are not approved by Kean College, who uses the excuse of NJ state law to disallow any other benefits, although the state law is not clear on the subject matter and it is Kean College’s interpretation of the state law that is the problem.
Not holding the raffle would give employees little incentive to attend our booth. Our question to Kean College was, how were the other vendors able to have giveaways of pens and stress balls and such like as they also have a value? They seemed a little confused by their own reasoning, Kean was happy for employees to receive stress balls and pens but a raffle for two tickets would not be permitted. When pressed, Kean College decided upon a prize value of between $20-$25, which seems both arbitrary and pernicious. The representative at Kean College was also unable to give specific details explaining where the ethics department was getting their information from, because no such ruling appears in the New Jersey statute.
Ban on Video at Kean College
While the reason behind us being unable to hold the raffle was now clear, the university then threw us another curveball. When we attend the benefit fairs we like to shoot a short video clip of the raffle and the event to share with our table sponsor and partners. The Kean College ethics department was also against that, stating that NJ state law dictates that no video or photography of any kind are allowed on the campus as it is state property. In this modern world of phone-crazy Snapchat and Instagram users, we find it very surprising that such a reason could ever be used. We now understand that campus police at Kean College actively pursue anyone taking video on campus and will demand its deletion. This includes phones, tablets, audio recording and anyone using any recording device.
Conclusion About Kean College Benefits Fairs
Given the amount of trouble that Kean College has created on this occasion, we did not ultimately attend the benefit fair at the school. Employee benefit fairs can be quite valuable and informative for the employee, the employer and the vendor. In order for the events to be truly successful employees need to attend them, and from past experience people only attend if there is something in it for them. Some employers make it very difficult for the vendors and this means they often do not attend as it is not worth their time. Then the benefit fairs are poorly attended, because there are no vendors and no door prizes. Ultimately the benefit fair is often cancelled and employees then wonder why HR failed them.