Do Your Employees Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish?
By Alexandra Ivancevic
According to the 2016 United Healthcare Consumer Sentiment Survey, only 7% of the U.S. population can define all four basic health insurance terms (premium, deductible, out-of-pocket maximum, co-insurance). And research conducted by Microsoft last year found that thanks to a reliance on digital devices, humans now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Are these factors combining to create a hopeless situation for benefits education?
Not so, say presenters at last week’s EBN Benefits Forum & Expo in Nashville. There were a number of insights offered on ways to engage and empower employees to make smarter decisions about their benefits. Here are five of the key takeaways.
1. Simple is the new sexy. Benefits technology platforms should offer a simple and integrated way to access benefits while educating employees on how to make smarter decisions about their health care. Next generation consumers expect a retail-like experience, even when buying insurance. They are looking for “benefits concierge services” that offer convenience, speed, and transparency. People like to be able to go to one source for all of their benefits information.
2. It’s all about personalization. Employees are increasingly demanding personalized benefits, resulting in more and more employers leveraging new technologies to move away from a one-size-fits-all strategy to one that is personal, relevant, and timely. Private exchanges are one means of delivering personalization to your benefits offering, as they help each employee select a holistic benefits portfolio that best fits their unique needs.
3. Gamification is everywhere. “Gamification” was mentioned throughout the conference as one emerging tool to engage health care consumers. EdLogics is one company that is “gamifying” user interactions. This multimedia education platform makes learning fun and helps empower individuals to take greater responsibility for managing their health with built-in incentives for engagement. If you don’t use a technology platform to enable this kind of interaction, be sure to use a lot of visuals or infographics in your communications. Visuals are powerful as they are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than plain text.
4. The medium is the message. It’s important to reach each employee through whatever medium they are most comfortable with. Use a variety of communications vehicles such as infographics, posters, direct mail, email, podcasts, meetings, and text messages. In the case of private exchanges, decision support tools can provide an interactive experience with messages that communicate benefits value right at the point of purchase.
5. Don’t forget the human touch. Engagement goes beyond the use of technology. Employers who provide a human touch can create a meaningful connection with their employees. It’s important to make sure that employees understand the information they’ve received. Set up a webinar to allow for feedback, questions, concerns, and reinforce key messages. Having a knowledgeable HR representative on hand to answer any questions that come in from employees, particularly during Open Enrollment, can go a long way toward creating a satisfying experience.
For more tips on how private exchanges can help to increase employee engagement in benefits, see our post, “5 Hidden Benefits of Private Exchanges for Employee Engagement.”
Alexandra Ivancevic comes from a multicultural background – of Serbian descent and born and raised in Sweden, where there’s extensive publicly-provided, quality health care and the consumer is empowered and in control. Moving to the US to pursue a college degree she quickly saw that our health care system was “broken.” She later joined Liazon and is proud to be part of the team that is revolutionizing the way benefits are bought and sold in the US.