Employee benefits managers have the task of planning and preparing an employee benefits fair. Is it worth considering an outside agency to run the event?
Employee benefits fairs are events that are organized by the HR department and/or benefits department of larger organizations to keep employees informed of the benefits that are offered to them and to interest them in new ones. Some companies choose to plan and organize these events in-house, but some larger employers choose to outsource the planning and execution of the benefit fair to an external third party, or consultant, who specialises in the putting together a benefits fair. Allowing an outside company to plan and organize the event has both advantages and disadvantages, as it may take most of the stress away from the benefits advisor and HR department, but it will often mean that they will have to give up a significant degree of control and accountability.
Advantages Of Using A Third Party To Run The Benefit Fair
Their Expert Knowledge
The most obvious reason for choosing an outside vendor to come and help organize, set up and run an employee benefit fair is the knowledge that the outside agencies have about the events. They know what works and what does not and how to draw attendees to the event. This is probably the biggest advantage of using a third party consultant.
They Know the Vendors
The outside vendors that plan the employee benefits fairs know who are the best people to invite to the events and also know which vendors will draw the crowds with raffles and giveaways. Most of the outside agencies that plan employee benefits fairs have built up good relationships with the vendors that will provide the most value to the employee benefits fairs.
They Understand What Things Work
The outside agencies plan and execute these events on a regular basis, so they have insider experience on the things that work and the things that are not so effective. The consultants will know when to schedule the benefits fair and also where would be a good location to hold the fair. They will also know about things like giveaways and free food and many other motivations that attract employees to the benefits fair.
They Can Provide Benefit Fair Artwork
With their experience planning and executing employee benefits fairs on a regular basis, the outside consultants are able to provide organizations with advertising materials that can be used to promote the employee benefits fair. In order for the benefits fair to be successful there needs to be a good promotional campaign with flyers and posters that can all be provided by the agency that is planning the employee benefits fair.
Promoting The Event
The outside agencies know how to properly promote the employee benefits fair to ensure that all employees are aware it is taking place and how to maximize traffic and engagement
Disadvantages Of Using A Third Party To Run The Benefit Fair
The main disadvantage of hiring an outside agency to plan an employee benefits fair is the cost that is involved. Most benefits managers have little or no budget to plan the fairs and the outside agencies that help to plan the benefits fairs all have a cost attached for their services.
Outside Agencies Are Not Accountable When They Make A Mistake
If an outside agency is hired to help plan an employee benefits fair and the event is unsuccessful or has a problem, the agency will not be accountable to upper management of the hiring organization. Part of the reason the agencies are able to charge for the service is to help guarantee a good turnout and a successful event, however this is not always the case and there have been frequent complaints by HR and benefits managers that they did not deliver as anticipated.
HR Taking A Chance
When using an outside agency to plan and employee benefits fair the benefits manager is taking a bit of a chance on the person who is assigned to help them. The benefits manager has to trust the external person organizing the event that they will carry out a good job and deliver good results, otherwise the benefits manager will be held accountable and will not get a do over as benefits fairs are usually just once per year.