As you look at your benefits education strategy, what old standouts seem too important to replace? Your strategy probably still includes old favorites like benefits booklets, presentations, or flyers. Perhaps this year, you’re focused on hosting these materials online—but you definitely wouldn’t cut them altogether, right?
Emailing PDF’s and hosting presentations on Zoom won’t suddenly help employees “get” their benefits. These strategies aren’t reimagined, they’re simply transferred online. If presentations and booklets worked (in any form), you’d spend less of your week answering benefits questions. Something isn’t working, and the answer isn’t simply digital.
Let’s talk about the biggest problems with booklets, presentations, and benefits education in general.
The problem with benefits booklets
Let’s be honest: benefits booklets are an outdated method of communicating benefits. Unfortunately, we know they’re also a key tool many HR pros are reluctant to part with. After all, without a booklet, where will employees turn for answers?
We have some thoughts. But first, let’s review exactly how benefits booklets fall short.
First, employees aren’t happy with the status quo. An HR Tech Weekly poll revealed 50% of employees surveyed couldn’t access their benefits in the way they prefer. Second, benefits booklets aren’t really doing their jobs. Mobile applications, not paper, PDF’s, or portals, are our preferred means of accessing information. According to the Pew Research Center, 96% of Americans now own a cellphone, and 81% of those are smartphones. Baby boomers aren’t excluded from the mobile trend, either. Of those 65 and over, an estimated 91% own a cellphone; 53% own a smartphone (see Why All Your Employees Want a Mobile Benefits Solution for more).
Third and finally, benefits booklets do nothing to promote your engagement goals year-round. A paper pamphlet does nothing to draw them back into under-utilized cost-saving benefits in February, March, and beyond. Not only are they ineffective, but they may also make things worse. They use complicated language, confusing details, and often don’t outline points of contact. That makes “I’ll just ask my HR representative” a much more appealing alternative—if they ask the question at all.
Simply creating a digital version of your benefits booklet isn’t enough. Sure, they might be easier to save on your employees’ desktop and therefore slightly likely to be tossed in the trash. Even PDF booklets, though, fall short in one key area: they can’t help employees in the exact moment they need to make healthcare decisions.
In the worst-case scenario, employees don’t even come to you with questions. They’re so scared and confused they make a hurried and high-cost healthcare decision that costs them, and your company, thousands of dollars.
A word about benefits presentations
Like benefits booklets, benefits presentations also seem like a can’t-be-skipped component of your benefits education strategy. But this messaging hasn’t kept pace with the times. When bite-sized information and 20-second TikTok videos are the order of the day, how can you expect employees to stay engaged with a 60-minute benefits presentation?
Ultimately, presentations are just as static as benefits booklets. Sure, you may make a presentation available on your company’s cloud. How often will employees access that information? More often than not, benefits presentations flash employees a bit of information about their benefits and then leave them wondering how even to use them. Just like the booklets, they fall short.
Look, we know that introducing employees to their benefits is essential, especially during OE. Without a presentation, you may leave your employees wondering what to expect from open enrollment or even the year ahead. There’s value in improving your presentations, shortening their length for maximum engagement, and not relying on them as a source of truth (see our post Why Benefits Presentations Are a Waste of Time for more).
There’s also value in streamlining your benefits education efforts. Given that these two major players fall short, you need a new solution: a tool that fills the gaping hole left by your benefits presentation’s last slide.
Enter the benefits experience platform, stage left
A benefits experience platform is a completely new idea in our industry, so it might elicit an eyebrow raise. “Experience benefits?” you ask. What does that even mean?
In brief, a benefits experience platform centralizes everything in one place, from your individual, siloed benefits to the education you need to drive their utilization. It’s built on an idea we don’t think has quite caught on: that creating better healthcare consumers isn’t just about education, but decision support. It recognizes that your benefits education strategy takes a lot of time and effort, and makes all that effort more impactful.
A benefits experience platform brings all those threads together to help employees make the right healthcare decisions. A few other benefits of the benefits experience platform:
- It replaces your benefits booklet. With a benefits experience platform in your back pocket, employees no longer need to flip through their booklet for details on coverage. In fact, you might decide to (gasp) toss it all together.
- It decreases questions for HR. Employees can easily follow up on your presentation without digging for links. Hardworking benefits presentations aren’t a total waste of time. You’ll find HR departments that see a 50%+ decrease in benefits questions after launch.
- It’s one of the keys to making benefits work better for dispersed employees. In 2020, you’ve had to reevaluate how you deliver benefits education. With access and education always on their mobile device, you no longer need to worry that dispersed employees will be left out of the loop (see our post The Key to Making Benefits Work for Dispersed Employees for more).
- It keeps all your virtual healthcare solutions in one place. From telemedicine to mental health support, virtual benefits are projected to continue their explosive upward growth in 2021, according to the Business Group on Health’s 2021 Benefits survey. As they gain prominence, though, they don’t necessarily get easier to use. Virtual healthcare needs to be accessible, and when all your benefits are centralized in a single app, navigation is as simple as a few taps.
- It proactively engages employees to put your year-round campaigns on autopilot. With push notification capabilities, a benefits experience platform can remind employees to choose a Primary Care Provider, get a dental exam, or schedule that flu shot. Education and cost containment initiatives, done and dusted.
Adding a benefits experience platform doesn’t have to mean rethinking your entire benefit education strategy. In fact, it may work best when it grows from the educational foundation you’ve worked hard to build. We’re not talking about tossing all your plans or even killing your benefits booklet (yet). Instead, we’re offering a solution that follows up your OE efforts with year-round engagement and personalized support. In other words, it makes all your benefits education more meaningful.
As open enrollment approaches, how will you make sure your efforts don’t go to waste?
Schedule a demo today to see how HealthJoy is building a better employee benefits experience.