Prudential data reveal employer-employee disconnect on preferred communication methods
Results from Prudential’s eighth annual study of benefits communication show a wide disconnect between employers and employees about the best ways to distribute benefits information and messages.
For employees, a preference for electronic communication is clear and strong—the top three communications methods preferred by employees all are digital: work email (47%), personal email (28%) and online avatar (19%). When it comes to downloading and/or sharing benefits information, nearly one-quarter (24%) of employees prefer using their smartphone.
Further, employees expect electronic communication and capability to expand relatively quickly. The majority believes most benefits activities—including enrollment (55%)—will be available via smartphone in the next five years.
However, across the board, few employers have faith in electronic channels; fewer than one-fifth say videos (18%), internal social media (17%), external social media (16%) and mobile devices (16%) achieve “great success” in enrollment communications. Email was the only electronic medium to break through to the majority of companies: 68% say it’s a successful way to transmit benefits enrollment information.
Employers can close the gap and succeed with electronic communication—all with much more ease and security than they might think. Learn how: Download and view the second session of our Benefits Communication Master Class, “Likes, tweets and clicks: The do's and don'ts of online benefits communication.”
Simple lab test charges vary by 1,000x, academic analysis reveals
Reinforcing health care consumerism is a tough enough job for employers, but a new analysis from researchers at the University of California San Francisco makes it even tougher.
The study, led by UCSF associate professor Renee Hsia, explored the disparity in charges for common tests and procedures across California hospitals. According to a report in Kaiser Health News, Hsia and her team found one California hospital charged $10 for a blood cholesterol test, while another hospital that ran the same test charged $10,169. For a basic metabolic panel, another common blood test, prices ranged from $35 to $7,303.
Hsia says her team could find found no rational explanation to explain the cost disparities, and called our nation’s health care payment system “irrational.”
“When people try to understand why prices are the way they are, we have no ability to explain it,” she adds. “That is what is so disturbing.”
Employers looking to increase employees’ health literacy and skill at comparing cost to quality are truly between a rock and a hard place. To help them make headway, we encourage them to download and use the free Choosing Wisely Employer Toolkit—featuring ready-to-use articles, tip sheets and more to foster informed dialogue between employees and their doctors.
This week’s hidden gem: eHarmony expands into career matchmaking
If you’ve ever had an open job search drag on for months without any viable applicants, perhaps you thought, “I wish there was an eHarmony for companies.” Now there is—yes, really.
After helping thousands find the right companion, eHarmony will expand its business to helping thousands more find the right colleague. In 2015, the company—best known for its romantic matchmaking website—will launch Elevated Careers, an online platform to “pair hiring managers with candidates based on desired culture, personality and skills,” Employee Benefit News reports.
“If we can match people for marriage, perhaps our matching skills would also work in terms of matching people for jobs,” eHarmony founder and CEO Dr. Neil Clark Warren, tells EBN.