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Benefits Communication: Does One-Size-Fit-All?
Unformatted Document Text:  Benefits Communication 7 Harris & Fink (1994) suggested that the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) could be useful in understanding how communication can increase benefits satisfaction. Harris & Fink (1994) claim that employees use either central or peripheral information processing. Peripheral cues, such as attractiveness of materials, credibility of the source of information, and number of cues, would be more persuasive when peripheral processing is used. According to their model, employees using peripheral information processing who look at peripheral cues would understand clearly whether their benefits are good, bad, or average and as a result would be more satisfied. On the other hand, employees who use central information processing may be more satisfied by looking at primary cues (health coverage plan, size of copay, choice of plans). In essence, employees may use primary cues to judge the quality of their benefit program but peripheral cues can play a relatively greater role for some. Harris & Fink (1994) offer examples of peripheral cues that might be more important to consider when exploring benefits satisfaction: aesthetic appearance of benefit brochures, characteristics of the staff (having very personable staff), amount and quality of communications of benefits, and frequency with which employees receive information about benefits. They suggest for researchers to investigate the conditions under which central versus. peripheral processing of benefit information occurs. Communication Channels for Communicating Benefits One area of interest for communication scholars regarding benefits communication is the area of channel, or media, selection in organizations. The theory of media choice (Rice, 1992) claim that when employees must perform complex organizational tasks they should use richer media, such as face-to-face, in order to be effective. There are two different ways of studying media choice, one perspective assuming that the media richness is an attribute of the channel

Authors: Picherit-Duthler, Gaelle. and Freitag, Alan.
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Benefits Communication 7
Harris & Fink (1994) suggested that the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) could be useful in
understanding how communication can increase benefits satisfaction.
Harris & Fink (1994) claim that employees use either central or peripheral information
processing. Peripheral cues, such as attractiveness of materials, credibility of the source of
information, and number of cues, would be more persuasive when peripheral processing is used.
According to their model, employees using peripheral information processing who look at
peripheral cues would understand clearly whether their benefits are good, bad, or average and as
a result would be more satisfied. On the other hand, employees who use central information
processing may be more satisfied by looking at primary cues (health coverage plan, size of copay,
choice of plans). In essence, employees may use primary cues to judge the quality of their
benefit program but peripheral cues can play a relatively greater role for some.
Harris & Fink (1994) offer examples of peripheral cues that might be more important to
consider when exploring benefits satisfaction: aesthetic appearance of benefit brochures,
characteristics of the staff (having very personable staff), amount and quality of communications
of benefits, and frequency with which employees receive information about benefits. They
suggest for researchers to investigate the conditions under which central versus. peripheral
processing of benefit information occurs.
Communication Channels for Communicating Benefits
One area of interest for communication scholars regarding benefits communication is the
area of channel, or media, selection in organizations. The theory of media choice (Rice, 1992)
claim that when employees must perform complex organizational tasks they should use richer
media, such as face-to-face, in order to be effective. There are two different ways of studying
media choice, one perspective assuming that the media richness is an attribute of the channel


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