Effective Benefits Education for a Remote Workforce
This year has changed considerably where employees work and how they use technology to communicate. New ways of working have ultimately impacted how employers approach employee benefits education. Gathering employees into a conference room to listen to a presentation about upcoming enrollment is not as easy as it used to be.
According to a recent study commissioned by Equitable and conducted by Arizent Research/Employee Benefits News2:
- Video chat usage will increase from 21% to 59% by early next year
- In-person events will decline by about half during the same time period
There is an opportunity for brokers to step in and offer their clients support as they shift benefits communications strategies to adapt to constantly evolving business conditions.
What Brokers Can Do
When asked how brokers can better support their clients, employers identified helping with communications strategies for current and planned benefits, second only to cost control. Here are 3 actions brokers can immediately take:
Encourage employers to begin communicating with employees about open enrollment earlier and to communicate more frequently.1
- Only 40% of employers started communications more than one month prior to enrollment
- 2 months: The amount of time prior to enrollment reported as more effective for starting communicates
Along with communicating earlier, nearly half of employers surveyed state they will be communicating more frequently about benefits offerings and options to ensure the information is clear and easily understood by employees.2
Customize and personalize benefits communications and reach out year-round.
Employers that report being more effective at enrollment activities are more likely to do the following versus ineffective employers1:
- Customize and personalize communications (86% versus 77%)
- Promote the value of benefits year-round (75% versus 62%)
- Provide ongoing benefits education (39% versus 26%)
Brokers can work with their clients to create tailored communications that are timely, concise, and avoid industry jargon so won’t get lost in the sea of increased digital messaging.
Lean on carriers.
Brokers need to be a source of ongoing benefits education, but they don’t have to go it alone. And carriers are prepared to help. Brokers can leverage resources on carriers’ websites when communicating benefits options to employees and help employers provide enrollment materials online. 24/7 online support and self-service tools offered by carrier can also keep employees informed and up to date.
“Reach out to us and talk to our experts so you can become more consultative with your clients. This year in particular, more brokers have reached out to us to help them put together webinars and videos to get in front of employees and educate them about buying options,” notes Tom Flavin, Head of Distribution for Equitable Employee Benefits.
For more information on benefits solutions, please check out the other content available at https://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/benefit-technology-resource-center
1Survey 1, 2020: In April/May 2020 Arizent/Employee Benefit News conducted an online survey (commissioned by Equitable) among 302 HR professionals at organizations with 10 to 500 employees and 2019 gross receipts of $250,000. Qualifying respondents have benefits decision-making involvement at organizations that have been in business 2+ years
2Survey 2, 2020: In July 2020, Arizent/Employee Benefit News conducted an online survey (commissioned by Equitable) among 100 HR professionals with benefits decision-making involvement at organizations with 10 to 500 employees. Employers had to offer dental, vision, life, short-term disability, long-term disability, critical illness or accident insurance.