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Improve your employees’ benefits enrollment experience with digital tools

By Mike Tyukodi | April 17, 2023

Inflationary pressures make it critical for employees to make smart decisions during open enrollment season. Learn how digital tools can help employees maximize their benefits value and feel protected.
Benefits Administration and Outsourcing Solutions|Health and Benefits|Retirement|Employee Experience|Employee Financial Resilience

It’s a unique environment right now. COVID restrictions are being lifted, inflation is high, and there is a mix of employers announcing job cuts while unemployment levels hover at 3% and 4%. With this year’s benefits enrollment season, employers have an opportunity to re-engage and reconnect with their employees in a way that hasn’t been felt since before the pandemic.

Here are three ways to use digital tools to help your employees make smart decisions, maximize their benefits value, and feel protected.

Create one simple place for your employees to access all their benefits information

We rely on technology more than ever, due in part to the explosion of apps, online services, and specialty vendors that help improve our lives. We also know how employees prefer to receive information, make decisions, elect benefits and receive virtual care.

As the number of systems and resources continue to multiply, the business case for an employee experience platform grows across many organizations. Creating a digital hub to consolidate information and resources outside of a traditional Intranet helps employees (and their family) get the most out of their benefits.

Once employees have a single place to access all their benefits information, employers can then use targeted and personalized content to highlight programs important to an individual employee. A personalized digital hub is an ideal way to simplify decision-making by presenting content and information only relevant to each employee and their unique situations.

Let’s take look at an example of how this comes to life for employees who may be struggling financially:

We know 43% of full-time employees are currently living paycheck to paycheck. Most employers can narrow down their demographics to identify the segment of their population who may be struggling with day-to-day finances. With a digital hub, you can suggest savings and investment options directly from payroll or provide access to debt management support. Or you could create a targeted communication that seamlessly connects financial resilience resources alongside other benefits options to help employees manage their overall benefits spend.

Here’s another example:

Imagine an employee who is a single parent with two, school-age dependents going into open enrollment this year. By combining dependent demographic data with the employee’s data and pay information, the employee’s digital experience could surface targeted communications or nudges presenting compelling prompts to save in a dependent care flexible spending account or a 529 college savings account. It could also promote the organization’s commuter benefits to reduce their overall out of pocket spend.

From the employee’s perspective, a consolidated personalized experience offers a quick and easy way to find essential information and execute tasks – like enrolling in benefits. It also helps them take advantage of resources they need in the moments that matter.

Provide decision support tools to your employees during benefits enrollment

While offering benefits flexibility and choice increases the perceived value of benefits, it also brings a new level of complexity. In a sea of options, employees need help making the choices right for them. Communicating to employees on a personal level is critical to helping them maximize the value of their benefit programs and feel like their basic needs are protected. In fact, only 60% of employees feel messages received from their employer are very relevant to their personal circumstances.

A decision-support tool helps employees compare plan features, expected premiums and anticipated out-of-pocket costs that would likely come up over the course of the year. These tools also allow employees to make sure their preferred doctors and hospitals are in network. More sophisticated tools even consider the employee’s prior claim history to recommend packages that fit their needs. While employees are making choices that impact their total rewards package, it’s also an opportunity to remind them how your organization has ensured their basic needs are met. With an added view of the details that make up their total rewards package, employees can think beyond their basic health and security through to how they can best balance their retirement planning and vacation or paid time off needs with their new mix of benefits.

Providing the right information to the right people at the right time is a great way to start but giving access to decision-support tools will only provide a certain level of utilization. Employers can drive participation through targeted communications that highlight lost opportunities.

Get personal with your digital tools during open enrollment

Start by listening to your employees. Survey your employees to find out what is important to your unique workforce today, tomorrow and in the future and use those insights to update your overall benefits experience. If you’re not listening to your employees about their current benefits experience, you could easily be spending money on programs and resources they’re not interested in.

Host a virtual benefits fair to help employee’s make informed decisions. Create a new benefits content experience where vendor materials, videos, and decision-making support tools are intermingled with personalized nudges that highlight how employees can get the most out of their benefits programs.

Invite employees to opt into a texting and/or e-mail campaign. Notifications for the opening of the enrollment window, reminders of deadlines, and simple links to enrollment applications can be sent and tracked through a centralized service. And let’s admit it, who doesn’t always have their mobile phone within their grasp at all hours of the day?

Send a video personalized to each employee’s unique situation to grab their attention. Then give them important highlights of the enrollment process in 60 or 90 second segments.

This year, increased costs and pressures on employees’ time underscore the importance of making smart care decisions. To truly empower your employees, improve your digital tools as part of this year’s communication strategy.


North America Communication and Engagement Solutions Leader
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