Left at the Big Oak Tree

Left at the Big Oak Tree

If travel is one thing, it’s directions. Despite all the navigation technology we can wield in the palm of our hand, I still find myself “off the grid” in many of the areas my wife and I travel.

When you set out on adventures to remote locations, you should know that you can’t always rely on your cell phone to guide you with simple turn-by-turn directions. Places with stunning waterfalls, canyons of otherworldly colors, and sunsets overlooking rolling landscapes are often outside of cell coverage.

Wandering in Fitzgerald

I recently found myself in this exact situation in a small South Georgia town. Frantically, I drove the town grid north, south, east, west, and back again searching for a cell signal or free WIFI. Nothing.

Completely lost and with no clue how to get back to the interstate, I humbled my omniscient directional intuitions and stopped to ask for help.

If you want to speak to locals there’s no better place to look than the family-owned hardware store. You can be assured inside is a friendly and helpful person.

Some small talk does the trick to warm up the proprietor because the first thing they know is that you’re not from around there. “Great store.” “Do you have any ballcaps with your store name on them?” Those phrases usually do the trick to get them talking.

Tip: Make sure you buy the hat.

Clear Communications Begins with Common Language

As communications director at The Benefit Company, I am keenly aware of the less than clear directions employees receive from carriers and benefits advisors. The root of such disconnect is lazy interest in speaking the common language of the people who need directions the most.

Just imagine if I asked the hardware store owner directions and he replied with the following:

“Take a compass heading of 27 degrees. Drive 14 kilometers and at the turning bay lines reduce speed to 12 knots when you cross the rumble strips. There will be a CMB off the starboard side. The narrow slot drop inlet lets you know you’re close to the interstate. Visit our website to chat with a bot if you get lost.”

Industry Jargon, Anacronyms, and SPDs Oh My!

Your employees are faced with many decisions as it relates to benefits. Decisions that affect their daily lives and finances not to mention the finances of the employer. Benefits are typically a company’s second largest budget item.

  • Picking the plan that is optimal for them and/or their family
  • Utilizing benefits in a way that serves the financial interest of both the employee and employer
  • Making the best choices to create loyal employees and attract new hires.

Effective communications are not a science. It is simply a matter of presenting information in the preferred delivery channel and language of the recipient.

Communications and Advocacy to Get Them There

The Benefit Company has a defined process and communications workshop to discover the optimal ways of reaching your employees. They are consistently some of our most effective tools.

In tandem with communications is our seasoned team of employee advocates who virtually “hand-hold” employees through times when they need directions. Like the hardware store guy, they speak a common language to decipher industry mishmash and get employees back onto the interstate of normal life.

Keep It Simple Folks

The next time someone is lost, begin with simple “left at the big oak tree” style directions and when you see their face light up with understanding you’ll know you have truly been helpful in guiding them.

Contact The Benefit Company to schedule your personalized communications workshop. The financial impact of refined channels, messages, and clear directions can be limitless.


Johnny Dodson

Director of Communications

Johnny Dodson

  • Communications
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Brand Development
  • Employee Engagement
  • Project and Vendor Oversight
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