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Employers turn to digital tools to boost employee engagement with their benefits

Friday, November 15, 2019
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To overcome the reluctance of employees to go through health benefit documents, employers have improved employee engagement through digital enrollment and accessibility tools.

Engaged employees are not only safer, healthier, happier, and more productive than colleagues, as Studer Group noted in a summary of the benefits of employee engagement. They also stay longer, which is crucial in today’s tight labor market.

“Employers are paying a lot for benefits. Understanding them is important to the employee experience and to being an employer of choice when it comes to finding and keeping your talent,” said Erik Hinz, a sales executive in Minneapolis for The Horton Group, an insurance, employee benefits, and risk advisory firm.

If employees do not know their plan options and how to access them, then their employer has wasted spending on benefits. Perhaps even worse, employees may perceive their employer as not caring enough about them to invest in good benefits, even if that perception is wrong.

Though just 39% of US employees surveyed by Randstad U.S. were satisfied with their benefits, only 48% knew about all of their benefits, HR Dive reported in an article on how more than half of U.S. workers have left jobs for better benefits.

Employers can leverage digital tools to ensure that employees know and access their benefits.

Simplifying enrollment

Painful memories of past open enrollments often prevent employees from fully exploring the benefits that their employer offers. Some employees would rather stick with what they know instead of looking for what they can get.

“The benefits industry hasn’t done a great service to employees in helping them to find and get tools that help them become better and more comfortable with their benefits,” Hinz said. “They hear the word ‘deductible’ and they get scared. But benefits enrollment doesn’t have to be like tax season.”

Consumer-friendly decision-support tools can show employees how different choices would meet their needs. Often accessible through PCs, smartphones, and tablets, decision-support tools let employees review options for benefits like health, life, and even pet insurance at their leisure without the pressure of making decisions. But employees also can get help from benefits advisors if needed.

Companies can increase employee awareness of benefits by doing the following, for example, according to an HR Technologist article on how technology can help effective benefits administration.

  • Leveraging social media.
  • Automating email marketing.
  • Sharing YouTube videos.
  • Tapping collaboration tools like Skype and Slack.
  • Optimizing benefits communication for mobile devices.

Technology gives employees the information they need about benefits choices sooner while reducing the amount of time that HR professionals spend answering questions over and over.

Increasing accessibility

An employer’s return on its investment in benefits increases as employee engagement improves. And employees use their benefits more when those benefits are easy-to-use.

Aligning “user-friendly benefits with user-friendly communication and technology” makes benefits more accessible, according to a Mercer blog post on creating employee benefits that drive engagement. “By ensuring that your employees have access to benefits that best support their individual health and wellbeing–and the right tools and information to choose among them–you can capture the added value of a healthy workforce for enhanced business results.”

For example, employers can give employees a digital benefits wallet that lets them instantly access any of their insurance information instead of searching through insurance cards. “We’re giving the folks on the plans better tools and resources to be better consumers of their plans,” Hinz said.

Some employers give employees tools to compare care costs and quality ratings among health-care providers. For example, HealthJoy, an all-in-one health benefits platform, can help employers and employees save money by choosing the best care they can afford. Workers also can use the app to review their spending on prescriptions and procedures or even to get after-hours help from a physician via telemedicine.

Employees want benefits, but they don’t want them to be complicated. Digital enrollment and accessibility tools make it easier for employees to learn about – and engage with – their benefits.

 https://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/news/2019/11/11/employers-turn-to-digital-tools-to-boost-employee.html

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.

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