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Bridge-Your-Engagement-Gap-–-Go-MobileThe impact of mobile technology in every industry is profound and those of you in HR will see a significant impact to your field as well. Mobile technology is quickly being embraced by organizations to engage their workforce – after all, engaged employees drive our business. They are productive, loyal and increase the bottom line. So how do we engage employees and get their undivided attention? Well for starters, we had better be pushing something out to their smartphone because that is where they hang out and take in information. It is how they are living their everyday lives and if you want their attention, you’d better be there too.

And it isn’t just the millennials who are connected – it’s your other employees as well. 80% of all internet users own a smartphone and 79% of mobile users use their smartphone for reading email (that’s a higher percentage than those who actually use it to make calls). Mobile email opens have grown by at least 180% in the last three years and 83% of users find a seamless experience is very important across all of their devices.

Consumers are getting their information through smartphone apps; whether it’s shopping, paying for coffee, checking train schedules, hailing a taxi – you name it. Those of you responsible for internal communication need to embrace the fact that employees want to get their benefits info like they get everything else – through an app – and you have to compete with all of the other apps and emails your employees are getting through their phone.

Company intranets have been serving a great purpose and will continue to be a core communications channel for many organizations, but as companies continue to have fewer employees tied to their desk how can those folks get to an intranet that is behind a firewall? As the workforce becomes more mobile, so should our methods of communication.

Success comes down to engagement in the HR world and mobile users are generally more engaged. So if your organization has yet to bring their intranet mobile fear not – there are still ways to go mobile without getting too complicated.

Take advantage of your enrollment self-service portal. These portals typically have a mobile app that can provide employees with one-stop-shop for access to current benefits information, plan information, contact information, decision support and other tools/resources. Text campaigns, videos and mobile-friendly emails are other ways to engage your employees. Be sure to modify your content too. Shorter articles, headlines rich in information and use of lists are easier to absorb on a mobile device.

Mobile will continue to grow in the HR and benefits space and there are many ways to use mobile technology in your benefits communications. So get out in front of it – repurpose content across multiple platforms and get your long-term strategy together.

Putting-Consumer-Driven-Health-Plan-Adoption-on-the-Fast-TrackWith rising costs in the group-based market, trends in health plan design stay pointed at plans with member responsibility. So now, more than ever, employers should be concerned over the effectiveness of their employee benefit communications.

Think your company is doing a great job? The 2017 Alegeus Broker and Employer Research Report finds employers are overconfident about the quality and effectiveness of their program. Employers’ perceptions fell short of consumers’ point of view on clarity of content, depth of information, communication channels, personalization and frequency of communications.

Only reaching out at annual enrollment or relying heavily on plan documents isn’t enough and without support your employees could be set up for failure. Ideally, they should be able to estimate out-of-pocket costs and understand how Consumer-Driven Health Plans (CDHPs) work alongside funding vehicles like the popular Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA).

Employers can follow these basic guidelines to maximize CDHP participation:

Follow a detailed communications strategy. Using simple messages multiple times a year will resonate. Don’t forget to make the material visually appealing – branding benefits communications and graphically portraying these difficult plans is equally important.

Use multiple communication channels. Understand your audiences and how they want to receive information. Incorporate social media, text messages and external websites into your strategy. Employees prefer to get frequent messages on the devices and sites that they use.

Leverage decision support tools. Take advantage of enrollment self-service portals to provide integrated decision support on an individualized basis. This approach, coupled with a “benefits help desk,” provides a valuable, high-touch experience.

The employee knowledge gap surrounding CDHPs and savings accounts is clear. Don’t put off your communications game plan any longer – we are more than happy to help you get the ball rolling.

enhancing-employer-communicationAccording to a recent Gallup Poll, only about 30 percent of the employee workforce is engaged at work. This leaves a widening gap of employees who simply aren’t hearing you, a problem that not only leads to an uninformed workforce but also one with lower levels of morale and productivity.

The competition for employees’ attention is fierce – they are constantly inundated with information. So here is the important question: What steps can organizations take to get the attention of their employees? And what communication channels will be most effective?

With 72 percent of all Internet users active on social media, engagement has become less about consuming information and more about having an open dialogue. Can you really communicate with your employees just a few times a year and expect them to stay engaged? I don’t think so; communication needs to be continuous. Asking for feedback, creating an up-to-date newsfeed on the intranet, and encouraging employees to engage with you regularly on social media are great starting points. By adopting the same communication channels employees use outside the office, you will become more aligned with how they choose to consume information and ultimately more likely to capture their attention in the process.

In addition to social media, employees are watching a lot of videos – and they’re watching them on their phones. In 2014, for the first time ever, U.S. adults spent more time watching videos on their mobile devices than watching television. They’re relying on video more and more as a method of consuming information.

While these trends are important to understand, perhaps the most important consideration in deciding which communication channels to utilize is your actual workforce. Do you work in a multigenerational office? Do the majority of your employees seem resistant to social media trends?

Take a hard look at your employees and understand their communication preferences. In doing so, you can provide them with the information they need, without overextending the resources of your internal communications team which is a real challenge in this digital age.

Social media, video, and mobile-friendly communications aren’t just more appealing to employees because they are preferred platforms, but because they give employees 24/7 access to the information they need. It also makes it easier for remote employees to stay engaged when they’re out of the office – an important consideration as more and more companies provide telecommuting. Changes are inevitable…but just how quickly all companies embrace new communication strategies is yet to be determined.