From children’s toys to kitchen appliances, nearly everything today has a computer chip inside, and behind many of those chips is Lam Research. By engineering at the atomic level, Lam creates wafer fabrication equipment that allows chipmakers to build smaller, faster, and better-performing electronic devices.
To help employees perform at their best, Lam provides U.S. employees with robust leave-of-absence (LOA) programs for time away to take care of themselves and their families—including up to 12 weeks of paid time off for bonding following the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child.
For many years, employees had a very difficult time understanding how their leave programs worked to provide them job protection and income. A dizzying array of unfamiliar terms and abbreviations was common in their LOA communications. And because there are multiple federal and state programs to understand, it was especially confusing for employees to understand how the job and income protection programs worked together, depending on the state in which they were employed.
As a result of this complexity, Benefits team members were spending an inordinate amount of time having numerous individual conversations, explaining how the programs work. Our challenge was to create clear, simple communications that would give employees the peace of mind to focus on the reason they were taking a leave in the first place—and free up the Benefits team to focus on other equally important work that can’t be systematized.
Answering Top Questions During a Stressful Time
Helping employees understand the particulars around pay, benefits, and time off for different types of LOAs is a challenge for many HR teams, Lam’s included. To free up Lam’s Benefits team and provide employees with easily digestible LOA information, the Segal Benz team:
- Decoded the alphabet soup of abbreviations for federal, state, and company programs that provide job security and income replacement during a leave
- Created visually engaging and easy-to-understand materials customized by employee’s state and type of leave
- Applied information design—the practice of presenting information to a target audience in a way that makes it accessible and easy to understand—to clearly and simply show how each type of leave works
Marrying Information Design and Effective Writing
Using principles from information design, Segal Benz created new materials that clearly presented the two main components of leave support—job protection and income replacement—along with a crisply written explanation of each program.
To help employees better see how these two components interact with each other, we annotated visual timelines and provided more robust explanations of each component. The printable PDFs are customized by state and type of leave.
In addition to the handouts, we enhanced the section on leaves of absence on Lam’s benefits website, so that the structure was well organized and more straightforward, using collapsible accordion subsections devoted to each type of leave.
Since the leave diagrams became available, Lam Benefits team members have been able to spend less time explaining job protection and income replacement to employees. When they do have these discussions, the team uses the applicable diagram as an outline for the conversation and as a takeaway reference for the employee.
The best thing about these diagrams is the very distinct separation between what the regulations are and the benefits that go with them. They are very clean and self-explanatory, so I don’t get questions anymore on how to read the diagram.