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How HR Can Leverage Personalization and Technology to Enhance Benefits Engagement   

How HR Can Leverage Personalization and Technology to Enhance Benefits Engagement   
Posted on Monday, April 17, 2023 by Sara Vidoni

Understanding how employees engage with their benefits can help HR teams tap into more opportunities to connect people with the right benefits. Employees are looking for better ways to manage their wellbeing; technology can help connect the dots from enrollment to utilization.  

Today’s economy has more employees asking for more than dollars in their paychecks in exchange for their time and talent. This is an excellent opportunity for HR teams to rethink how they’re marketing the plan options, voluntary benefits, and other perks already available in (or that could be added to) their total rewards program. 

However, as healthcare costs continue to rise, employers are looking for ways to make the most of what’s already in the benefits program alongside building a strong business case for what the organization should invest in to diversify their offerings. Understanding members’ behaviors is a win-win, unlocking ROI and promoting lifelong health with refined engagement tactics. 

Awareness: What, when, and how employees learn about their benefits and programs. 

Especially after the ups and downs in recent years, many employees have a greater awareness of their benefits and are eager to make the most of their options. Though they may want to be, employees won’t—and don’t need to be—benefits experts. 

Instead of boring brochures, employees need a helping hand navigating healthcare in all its intricacies. Truly, people are eager to stack the benefits deck in their favor, and HR can help connect the dots. Technology can be instrumental in this effort. Omni-channel communications can keep benefits top of mind while a benefits portal can provide a single hub for information.  

When it comes to benefits, our data shows email is one of the best ways to get ahold of members. Double the average marketing email open rate, benefits-related emails earn a 45% open rate, showing employees are awaiting this material.  

Leading benefits strategies incorporate video and digital tools to develop unique experiences, like virtual benefits fairs, to embrace edu-tainment and gamification. Creative initiatives like these take it to another level, finding ways to make learning fun and benefits accessible. 

Selection: The benefits choices employees must make during enrollment and beyond. 

During enrollment, decision-support tools can help employees make selections that set the stage for smart health and financial choices. Whether switching to a high-deductible health plan or enrolling in health savings accounts (HSAs), employees have a single opportunity each autumn to select best-fit-for-them benefits. 

Though annual enrollment and life events only happen once or twice a year, opportunities to select care can happen at any moment. Seeking specialist care or needing urgent medical guidance, technology can overcome confusion and hep employees make confident benefits decisions.  

Activation: How employees take advantage of their plan and package 365 days a year. 

Just as diverse needs are driving the expansion of benefits offerings, engagement strategies must take into account the diverse communication needs across your populations. From how employees want to receive communications to their health background and how they prefer to seek care, each employee is totally unique. 

Today, people expect their digital experience to be tailored to them: 62% expect their needs to be understood and anticipated. Employees want, need, and deserve personalized experiences that remove extraneous barriers to care.  

Personalization is a fast-track to smart health choices, and gets people excited about using their benefits, which is the best way to bring down the benefits bottom line. We’ve found that 46% of employees log into our benefits platform, Benefitsolver®, 4 or more times after enrollment when personalized communications and additional services are available. This compares to only 20% when no personalized services are available. 

Personalization is one type of technology that can help employees activate benefits. From user experience (UX) to access to real-time claims data and omni-channel communications, technology helps remove confusing jargon with intuitive tools.  

Benefits engagement cannot stop at annual enrollment. Helping employees connect the dots from selection to activation is a year-round effort, but the lift is more manageable than you might think. As benefits continue to evolve—and become even more complex— technology will be the key to scale efforts and help employees unlock value across the entire experience.  

Despite employees’ confusion, their desire to engage illuminates the opportunities HR teams have to guide employees towards the right-fit-for-them solutions. 

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. From selecting health plans to booking care, employees just need a little guidance to keep benefits top of mind and activate on them year-round.