Businessolver Blog

How Benefits AI can Help Bridge the Benefits Literacy Gap 

How Benefits AI can Help Bridge the Benefits Literacy Gap 
Posted on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 by Kimberly Dunwoody

Employees will never be benefits experts, but AI and personalized experiences can help ease confusion by bridging the gap between benefits navigation and wellbeing needs.   

Benefits complexity and confusion aren’t new concepts—Businessolver’s data has found over 80% of employees are confused about their benefits since we started measuring literacy and understanding in 2018. Navigating a benefits platform can be equally as daunting for employees, especially when they’re experiencing a health issue.  

Complex language, processes, costs, and eligibility (plus more) all contribute to this confusion and low benefits literacy. Even the most seasoned HR professionals may find themselves struggling to decipher it all for themselves, let alone for their diverse group of employees.  

However, with the recent advancements of artificial intelligence (AI), there are more opportunities for benefits teams to help their employees bridge the confusion gap with personalization, accessibility, and ease of use.  

Virtual benefits assistants make benefits Q&A easier. 

One of the most common applications of AI when it comes to HR benefits is chatbots and virtual assistants (like SofiaSM). Sofia helps employees understand and navigate their benefits by simulating a live chat experience using natural language processing and large language models—similar to how you might chat with Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant.  

Because Sofia uses natural language processing (NLP) to help her parse through complex benefits jargon and connect it to the user’s chats and questions, the interaction with her feels more natural and helpful rather than limited and scripted. Sofia helps break down complex benefits jargon, remind employees about the benefits available to them (even if they don’t know that it might be relevant to their situation), and surfaces benefits information quickly and efficiently.  

In fact, some of Sofia’s top topics include:   

  • HSA and FSA questions 
  • Medical plan information 
  • Adding or managing a dependent or partner 
  • ID card questions 

Personalization is the new consumer experience table stakes. 

AI can help improve the employee benefits experience by providing personalized recommendations for relevant benefits, solutions, or even reminders. By analyzing an employee’s usage patterns and preferences in the benefits platform, AI can suggest the most relevant benefits options based on their unique situation. This not only simplifies the decision-making process but also helps employees build more awareness about important and relevant benefits available to them.  

In 2022, Sofia helped drive 80% of impressions, or visibility of, point solutions based on employees’ behavior in the Benefitsolver™ platform. Additionally, when Sofia served up relevant benefits information in chat, 19% of employees activated on that reminder (meaning they clicked or called). 

AI supports accessible and diverse experiences

Often, complex HR documents are filled with jargon and technical terms that can be difficult for employees to understand. By using images, diagrams, or videos, AI can help simplify the information and make it more accessible to everyone, regardless of their benefits literacy.  

Finally, AI can help improve the accessibility of HR benefits by providing options for employees who are visually or hearing impaired. For example, AI-powered systems can convert complex documents to audio or braille format to make them accessible to employees with visual impairments. Similarly, virtual assistants can help employees with hearing impairments by providing a text-based interface to interact with the HR benefits system.  

Navigating the complexities of employee benefits can be a challenge for everyone, and often for a variety of reasons. However, with the help of AI and personalization, benefits literacy is no longer a barrier to engaging with the tools, resources, and support employees need to manage their wellbeing.  

By leveraging these technologies in your HR benefits system, you can ensure that your employees are able to make informed decisions about their benefits without feeling overwhelmed or confused. So why not start exploring the different ways AI can help improve your HR benefits system and provide a better user experience to your employees today? 

Want to learn more about the value of AI and personalization in the benefits experience? Read our Benefits Insights: Connecting the Dots from Selection to Activation special report.