Help employees better prepare for benefits enrollment

Work Wisdom

Help employees better prepare for benefits enrollment

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way millions of Americans live and work — and some of it for the better.

For many, the commute to and from the office each day took away from time better spent on other matters. Now that employees are working from home, they’re gaining back those valuable hours spent in the car or train. Research shows they’ve been spending it with family, sleeping more, and focusing on hobbies — all great for your overall wellness.

Here’s another option for that “extra” time that also can have a big impact on your health: your annual benefits enrollment.

It’s a task far too many working Americans rush through. A recent Colonial Life study of 1,200 U.S. consumers* showed 73% of respondents spend less than an hour and 41% invest less than 30 minutes considering their benefits at enrollment time.

“If this year has taught us anything, it’s the importance of our health and the value in taking every opportunity to protect it,” said Richard Shaffer, senior vice president of field and market development at Unum. “As we head into enrollment season this fall, workers across the country need to take time to ensure they’re protecting their families, finances and futures against unexpected events.”

Surprisingly, those who are the least confident in their knowledge of benefits available are most likely to rush through the enrollment process. Nearly 90% of consumers who reported not understanding their benefits “at all” said they plan to spend less than an hour on enrollment this year.

“Especially in today’s environment, offering benefits isn’t enough,” Shaffer said. “To make the investment pay off, employers must ensure employees take the time to understand, value and participate in the benefits enrollment process.”

Before deploying a strategy, consider an employee survey to discover how employees prefer to learn more about their benefits options. This feedback will help determine which tools to use. Some options include:

  • Recasting your benefits fair as a virtual event
  • Using your employee intranet or portal
  • Hosting webinars
  • Mailing printed educational materials home
  • Using texts and email invites to inform employees about enrollment
  • Offering one-to-one support, online or on the phone

This pandemic has created a unique workplace environment that will have millions of Americans still working from home for the foreseeable future, so effective benefits communication is more challenging than ever. Business and human resources leaders must make sure they’re providing the support and opportunities for their employees to learn basic information and ask questions — even in a virtual environment.

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