Businessolver Blog

Making the Right Call: How to Support Employees’ Benefits Selection

Making the Right Call: How to Support Employees’ Benefits Selection
Posted on Monday, August 19, 2019 by Rae Shanahan

When you consider it, humans can be pretty irrational.


From running up a credit card balance to indulging in extra dessert after dinner, we make decisions that feel right in the short term, but that may hurt us in the long term. We may even know our choice isn’t the best, but fear of the unknown can be a powerful motivator to stick with the status quo. 

And while we all make the occasional short-sighted decision in our personal lives, more serious choices are on the horizon when Annual Enrollment comes around each year. AE may only last a few weeks, but the elections made have a lasting impact—and big consequences—for an entire year. AE is fast approaching, meaning now is the time for HR leaders to consider how their company’s employees will approach the crucial moment of selecting their benefits.

The latest Businessolver data from the MyChoiceSM Recommendation Engine report suggests that employees aren’t always choosing the best benefits to meet their short- and long-term needs. Understanding the limits to healthy decision making can help HR professionals implement the right tools to lead employees to the best available benefits for their needs.   

More than anything, data shows that employees don’t see themselves as risk-takers. When asked how they would characterize their tendencies, only 3% of employees classified themselves as comfortable with taking big chances. Perhaps unsurprisingly in a world marked with so much unrest, the vast majority make decisions to shelter themselves from unexpected events.

This risk aversion translates into benefits selections. An employee afraid of risk may be likely to select a plan that offers the strongest protection against unexpected costs, even if the monthly premium puts a strain on their wallet. For a person who leads a safe, healthy lifestyle and faces tight budget restraints, a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) might help control monthly costs and balance the day-to-day budget. It’s HR’s responsibility to make sure these distinctions are widely understood.

Compounding the issue of risk aversion, employees struggle to understand their benefits options. Businessolver’s MyChoiceSM Recommendation Engine results found that less than 1 out of 5 users characterized themselves as experts about their own benefits. That means that in a benefits environment with increasingly complex offerings and plan structures, 80% of employees are likely not knowledgeable enough to fully understand their benefits options or maximize the benefits they select.

It’s within this context of risk aversion and limited benefits literacy that Businessolver developed product innovations that look toward 2019’s fast-approaching AE season. Here’s what’s we’ve developed to support smart, rational decision making for all employees:

  1. Conversational Enrollment. Businessolver’s Conversational Enrollment in the MyChoiceSM Recommendation Engine is built around the belief that it’s easier to process information when it’s part of a casual conversation. The tool breaks benefits choices into short, easy-to-read pieces, with support from personal benefits assistant, Sofia. She provides key details on benefits offerings and responds to any questions at the moment employees need the information, without them having to leave the platform. HR may not be able to have a personalized benefits conversation with every employee, but this tool replicates the support and critical thinking that employees need, at the exact time they need it.
  2. Decision Guidance. In the same way that an HR professional might talk through the pros and cons of various benefits options based on an employee’s life situation, our latest enhancements offer guidance through what makes the most practical sense. Employees are prompted to enter information about their family structure, activity level, health condition, and more. From there, they’ll receive a direct recommendation for the best coverage. Personalized and time-saving, this software ensures employees are active participants in the benefits process, with the support they expect and deserve.
  3. Comprehensiveness and Flexibility. These enhancements also mean our solutions will meet people where they are—quite literally. Sofia can now interact with employees by text, chat, or voice call, so she is consistently accessible in the ways different users prefer. And, by responding to employee requests to the Service Center, she allows HR team members to focus on more complex questions and employee issues during Annual Enrollment.

It should be the goal of all empathetic employers to ensure benefits technology is acknowledging the reality of ever-evolving employee needs. With these innovations, our tools can be your HR department’s partner in doing just that.

Interested in learning more about how Sofia can learn to support your employees? Check out our infographic.