What makes it so easy to use a service like Amazon? There are a number of reasons: you can access product offerings in one place, filter for cost and quality, and easily see where you qualify for Prime shipping. In short, the experience is seamless.
There are few experiences in healthcare that mirror this type of consumer-friendly service. One area that tends to cause a lot of frustration for employees, in particular, is around a company’s benefits offerings. Not only is it frequently unclear which benefits a company offers but benefits information also tends to be scattered across multiple places – making it difficult for employees to access and use.
While this may not seem like a big deal at first glance, it can actually lead to negative outcomes, from unhappy employees to increased healthcare costs for your organization. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to create a seamless benefits experience for your employees:
Redirection to lower-cost care
Presenting benefits information in one place saves time and money. Let’s say one of your employees comes down with the flu in the middle of the night. Due to a complex benefits experience, he isn’t aware the company offers a free telemedicine benefit and goes to the emergency room or urgent care instead. Not only does he pay an unnecessarily high out-of-pocket cost, but he also waits hours to receive care. If he knew about his telemedicine benefit, he could have saved himself the trouble and achieved the same outcome.
Read our Employee Benefits Communication Guide for more.
But it’s not just about short-term cost savings. Your employees may miss out on the opportunity to access truly life-changing benefits that can improve their health and, as a result, save money in the long run. For instance, many companies offer programs that help employees manage their weight or chronic diseases. This is a benefit that can save people from unnecessary doctor’s visits and hospital bills down the road.
An increase in employee benefits satisfaction
One of the worst feelings – for both employers and employees – is to discover an awesome benefit the company offers halfway through the year. A seamless experience helps make employees aware of the generous benefits you’ve already invested in, letting them know you care about their wellbeing. This can lead to improvements in happiness, productivity, and retention; that’s why 84% of employees with high benefit satisfaction also report high job satisfaction, according to a workplace benefits study by Guardian Life.
Also, keep in mind that the war for talent is more competitive than ever before, with unemployment rates at an all-time low. This makes it critical for companies to not only offer an attractive benefits package but also to make sure their employees are actually gaining something positive from it. Otherwise, you risk losing your best employees to a competitor who both offers and makes it easy for employees to access their benefits offerings.
It’s a problem when your employees are only engaging with their benefits around open enrollment. Benefits shouldn’t be something they “set and forget.” They’re offerings that have a significant impact on the physical, mental, and financial wellbeing of employees. When you take steps to make benefits easily accessible, you’re also increasing the chance employees will engage with them. If there’s too much complexity, you risk employees unnecessarily dipping into their own wallets for a benefit that’s already covered or – worse – foregoing care.
That’s why it’s so important to invest in education efforts throughout the year – not just around open enrollment season. We recommend creating multiple opportunities for employees to learn about their benefits, so it’s always top of mind for them. You can use tactics like regular lunch and learns with benefits vendors, ongoing email campaigns, or monthly webinars where employees can bring their burning questions to the table. There are tons of creative ways to teach employees about the amazing healthcare benefits they have within their benefits package.
Time saved for HR
Finally, let’s give our friends in HR a break. Presenting all of your employees’ benefits in one easy-to-find location will drastically reduce the number of questions the HR department receives, such as “do we have an HSA or FSA?” or “where do I access the company’s gym discount?” These are all questions that should be easy for employees to answer for themselves. Trust us; your HR department will thank you later.
Also, if you have a benefits experience that also includes a healthcare concierge service, the time (and cost) savings can be even greater. A concierge can personally guide your employees through the process of finding high-quality and low-cost care, make calls to doctor’s offices on their behalf, and check to see if care is in-network.
Creating a seamless benefits experience for your employees doesn’t have to be a heavy lift on your end, but it will pay huge dividends. As a next step, assess the current state of your benefits experience and identify where the gaps are. Then find a partner who can help you fill in those holes to make the process of finding, accessing, and utilizing benefits truly seamless for your employees. As a result, you’re likely to see cost savings, more satisfied workers, increased engagement, and a happier HR department.