Demand for tailored benefits info growing

Demand for tailored benefits info growing

Employee Benefits PackageWorkers value personalized benefits information yet few employers have implemented a tailored communications approach.

Six in 10 employees say their benefits meetings would be more relevant if the communications were targeted by age, finds the Guardian Workplace Benefits Study, released Wednesday.

Moreover, those within the first five years of employment feel that they need more personal advice during enrollment. If employers increase access to education and advice, it may benefit the nearly seven-in-ten early entrants to the workforce who say that finding a trusted source of financial advice is a highly important goal.

For employees within their first five years of employment, top financial concerns include paying the bills (92%), job security (88%) and reducing debt (79%). Those approaching retirement, meanwhile, are thinking about adequate health insurance (94%), having a comfortable retirement (93%) and maintaining adequate savings (87%).

One-third (33%) of employers place high importance on tailored communications and only 13% have implemented such an approach.

“Our research reveals that employers are demonstrating a renewed focus on improving employee satisfaction,” says Ray Marra, senior vice president, group products at Guardian, noting an uptick in employer interest in customization materials.

When payroll vendor ADP revamped its benefits communication strategy recently, it took into account the communication preferences of its employee population. John Hyttinen, senior director, total rewards at ADP, says that 35% of the company’s workers are millennials, who prefer more personalized communications from a variety of sources.

“As we recalibrated our approach, we looked at different components as people were moving to using different technologies,” he says.

ADP used a video platform, which he says was personalized and easily accessible. And although it’s still in its early stages, he says ADP has noted several successes in cost and time savings.

Going forward, says Hyttinen, ADP will continue to focus on analytics and new ways to engage employees through multiple channels. In addition, he says he’s looking into possible uses of gamification within the video platform, which is offered by Guidespark.

Nancy Kennedy, compensation manager for Boston Scientific, also made use of Guidespark’s video platform to tackle the onerous task of communicating compensation benefits.

Historically, the company heavily relied on its local HR professionals to communicate benefits. But the medical device-maker also used audio-guided slide decks, the company intranet, printed fact sheets and post cards.

The biggest barrier was convincing others in the company to make the leap from antiquated to more innovative communication methods.

“[The postcard] was hard to read, had a lot of legalese and there wasn’t an easy way to log in and enroll [in benefits],” she says. “I knew this post card was in recycle bins across the country and we had no way to measure the ROI.”

Consistency in communication across the board saves time, money and reduces risk, she says.

“What has changed are the styles for HR to communicate,” says Hyttinen. “When you look at historical presentations, they were more passive versus now, what we have is content that’s played and then [we’re able to] have engaging conversations.”

Employees continue to report that their benefits play a major role in how financially secure they feel, according to the Guardian study, with 42% saying they rely on their benefits for all or most of their financial preparedness.