It’s that time of year again, when those eagerly anticipated benefits enrollment guides will soon arrive in mailboxes (and inboxes) around the country.
Employees and their family members have been waiting patiently all year, and soon they’ll be reading those enrollment guides cover to cover, feeling more ready than ever to make informed choices that match their needs exactly…Right?
Okay, that might just be my dream. Engaging employees in benefits is tough, and sometimes the engagement dream never comes down from the clouds to acknowledge the realities of the employee experience on the ground.
For a while now, I’ve heard about the idea of delivering a benefits shopping experience. Sounds good on paper, but the problem is that employees don’t really like to shop for benefits. And it’s understandable. Filling a shopping cart with a high-deductible health plan, long-term disability coverage and optional life insurance isn’t quite as satisfying as discovering a great pair of boots during a Cyber Monday online sale. Shopping for those boots online is, well, just different than choosing benefits.
To find the boots (and the price) you like best, you might visit several different websites. You might put something in your cart. You might even buy it. But you might not, happy enough to let the cart sit there for a while as you continue shopping around for the best deal. After all, there’s probably no rush. As a friend of mine says (she’s a website user experience testing pro), this is a “frequent but non-critical task.”
With choosing benefits, it’s a little more complicated because while the things you’re choosing are going to protect your health and well-being throughout the year, none of it feels like a bargain. And of course, there’s a ticking clock—the enrollment deadline—which can feel especially stressful when you’re not even sure what you’re buying. My user experience friend calls this an “infrequent but critical task.” It’s only once a year, but there’s big money involved and important protections to choose. But even so, a lot of employees would like to avoid annual enrollment altogether.
But there’s a lot we can do to make it a better experience, and to help employees through this infrequent but critical task with more understanding and confidence. Here are some tips to consider:
These are just a few examples, but the answers to questions like this can help you sharpen the focus of your communication strategy, and create new opportunities for outreach that’s more personalized and relevant.
Ready to flip the employee experience through better engagement? Get started with Businessolver.
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