As you power through the intensity and complexity of this year’s open enrollment season, our friends at The Jellyvision Lab have taken the pulse of everyday employees with their ALEX Asks survey to find out what they really think about how companies communicate their benefits. The results likely will confirm your greatest hopes and your worst suspicions, but it’s always good to keep data points like this top of mind as you send those “Check out what’s new for 2014” emails and “Don’t forget to enroll!” postcards.
Among the things employees told ALEX:
Open enrollment is open and shut … right? Although 79% of employees understand that open/annual enrollment is a time when they can make changes to their health plans, less than half (42.5%) know they can change their benefits selections after a qualifying life event like marriage, divorce or the birth/adoption of a child.
Wellness is important—please explain it to me. 77.6% of employees think that a wellness program is at least “somewhat important” for a company to provide, but close to one-fifth (18.8%) say they don’t know if their workplace has such a program. Almost half (45.3%) think they have to pay to participate in wellness activities.
Enough email; let’s chat. 29% of employees prefer one-on-one interactions with their HR department.
Put family first! 71.5% say it’s important or very important to include their spouses/partners when deciding which health plan to get.
The Jellyvision Lab also finds that employers most often use email (62.5%), websites (53.5%), and direct mail (52.8%) to communicate benefits information. Least used are interactive content (15.8%), videos (13.5%) and social media (10.3%).
We think it’s important to use a wide range of channels to communicate year-round, and certainly the tried and true methods are important to a successful campaign. However, as health care reform and economic pressures make benefits communication more important and more complicated, we want to encourage you to consider adding interactive content, videos and social media to your arsenal—we’ve seen first-hand how powerful the results can be.
Lastly, ALEX Asks features some great quotes from survey respondents, like this one: “It would be much too time consuming and frustrating to try to find out information on these benefits by oneself.”
That sentiment aligns with what we've been seeing on Twitter regarding open enrollment. A quick keyword scan yielded these tweets from frustrated employees around the country:
Yikes. Whatever media you use, we think that pretty much sums up the case for quality communication.