If brokers want to survive and thrive in today’s uncertain benefits world, they must take an active role in educating and engaging employees. There are many strategies to engage employees in their benefits program leading to increased productivity, lower absenteeism and greater employee loyalty. There are three essential elements that can help employers achieve these goals. First, the employer must offer a meaningful benefits program designed to meet the needs of their employees. Secondly, brokers need to educate the employer and employees on the program. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, employees have to actually engage in these benefits programs. After all, if a worker never even glances at their benefits, they certainly won’t take advantage of them.
Survey the Situation
One way to engage employees is through the use of surveys. When you are meeting a customer for the first time, conducting an employee survey will allow you to gauge and better understand your audience and employee demographic. In the survey, ask employees to rank the importance of existing benefits and inquire if they would be open to having access to new benefit options, both insured and non-insured. This is a great way to design a program that truly meets the needs of the employees. If certain benefits resonate with employees, you now have undeniable proof to present to the employer, which may help to secure the broker of record letter.
For existing customers, it’s time for a post-sale survey. Are employees aware of the existing program? Are they using it? What else do they need? Based on the results of the survey, you can show the employer how to evolve their benefits program and potentially add a benefit or two. This is a genius way to gain true perspective from the employee population and keep employees activated, engaged and educated about their benefits options.
Feed the Right Engagement Channels
As an advisor, it’s important to work hand-in-hand with each client to create an activation strategy for their benefits program. You can educate and engage employees by communicating through a variety of different mediums, from email campaigns and lunch room posters to benefits administration systems and websites. Employers can also put benefits in the spotlight by hosting an employee wellness fair. To help employers pull off a successful fair, bring in key partners and provide benefit marketing materials and information about how employees can use these programs. Feed testimonials and information into the channels the employer typically uses to speak to their employees.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Most employees spend a mere 30 minutes a year during open enrollment to focus on their benefits. Once they make their decision, they sign on the dotted line and forget about it. At that point, the benefits program becomes sick insurance—not health insurance.
Reengagement, Something New
When supplemental programs are simply added to an overall employee benefits program, they often get lost in the shuffle. So, how do you encourage employees to tap into these valuable benefits, including non-insured solutions? For example, Telehealth solutions are having great success in reengaging employees, but like any other product, if the employee forgets the program exists they will not use it. When the Telehealth benefit is strategically incorporated into the employee benefits program and its availability is communicated during the course of year, utilization increases exponentially. It all comes down to creating an educational strategy that engages employees during and beyond open enrollment. Call me to learn more about other engagement strategies.
– Brian Latkowski, EVP Global Sales
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