Why going 1-1 pays off when choosing your benefits

Work Wisdom

Why going 1-1 pays off when choosing your benefits

It’s hard to count on anything work-related being “normal” these days, but one thing you probably can count on is an annual workplace benefits enrollment.

What, not too excited about that? You’re not alone. Many employees seem unwilling to take the time to understand their benefits needs and options. In fact, a recent Colonial Life survey1 shows 41% spend less than 30 minutes learning about and selecting their benefits. Another 32% spend just 30 to 60 minutes making benefits decisions.

And employees the least confident in their knowledge of the benefits available to them at work are the most likely to rush through the enrollment process. Nearly 90% of employees who report not understanding their benefits “at all” say they plan to spend less than an hour on enrollment this year.

Virtual 1-1 support is on the rise

Between health plan options, voluntary benefits such as disability and critical illness coverage, and 401(k) plan deductions, there’s a lot to consider. That’s why many employers are offering personalized benefits education and individual enrollment support for their employees — even in a virtual environment.

The virtual aspect of benefits education and enrollment is one thing that should actually be easier this year. All of us have been forced to accomplish more things remotely, from staff meetings to doctor visits. Many employers are taking that lesson and applying it to this year’s benefits enrollment.

Another recent survey2 showed the number of employers who plan to offer employees the opportunity to enroll via videoconferencing or co-browsing with a benefits counselor has nearly doubled, from 23% in 2019 to 42% this year. And 22% will offer individualized, real-time support through telephone enrollments.

Those virtual “high touch” enrollment methods will replace in-person meetings for many employers. Virtual meeting technology can be complemented by call center resources, online scheduling and a wide variety of engaging digital communications, including e-postcards, custom websites and videos, and mobile apps to reach employees when and where it works best for them.

Together, these communication and enrollment options can deliver a personalized experience for you, no matter where you’re working these days.

Personalized enrollment support is more successful

These trends are likely to continue long term — both because of the current physical distancing environment, and because they’re proven to work.

For example, analysis of Colonial Life’s benefits enrollments this year shows three times as many employees actively participate in their benefits enrollment when a 1-to-1 option — either online or by phone — is available. Only about 15% of employees do so when they’re asked to enroll on their own, usually on a website.

Employees who participate in one-to-one benefits counseling sessions also report they’re much more knowledgeable about their benefits and happy with the enrollment process. Survey results from more than 112,000 employees over the past 12 years who’ve participated in an individual enrollment session show 97% understand their benefits better, and 95% say having this personal meeting annually is important — 60% say it’s very important.

Going 1-1 makes it easier to understand your unique needs and the benefits options available to meet them, so you can make the choices to best protect you and your family. It’s another thing you can count on — no matter what the future brings.

  1. Online survey of 1,200 U.S. adults administered March 23–30, 2020 by Dynata on behalf of Colonial Life
  2. Online survey of 4,077 U.S. employers administered June 11–16, 2020 by Dynata on behalf of Unum
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