3 Ways Technology Can Improve Your Benefits Delivery

It’s no secret that a positive workplace culture plays a critical role in driving employee engagement and retention. In many ways, it’s the linchpin to sustainable business growth. A strong business idea, however innovative, can’t build to scale alone. People are the foundation of success; an extension of a company’s brand promise.

Many elements go into building a positive work experience, and for many companies, the foundation of that experience rests with HR. But as HR departments become more and more stretched – taking on greater responsibility, navigating complex rules and regulations – they need resources to help them stay afloat and support an evolving workforce. Technology should be their ally; a behind-the-scenes force making sure things run smoothly.

SHRM benefits study leveraged benefitsA recent MetLife study reported that the most loyal employees are satisfied with their benefits. Healthcare benefits, in particular, are a main driver behind why employees remain with an employer. According to SHRM, when it comes to workplace satisfaction, employees value healthcare as much as salary, though company culture is most important.

How can human resource managers make sure employees are educated, engaged, and able to make the most of their benefit options? Here are three ways technology can drive greater employee engagement and retention:

1.Educate your workforce

Know your audience. Employees feel valued when you clearly communicate benefits and how they can make the most of their plan decisions. The right solution can equip HR professionals with the ability to tailor, target and personalize communications that speak directly to an employee’s needs and meets them where they are.

Consider millennials, a generation that is quickly eclipsing other generations in today’s workforce. Their lack of knowledge about the benefit process can serve as a major setback for HR professionals working to build a positive workplace culture, however modern solutions that streamline the benefits process can help close the generational gap.

Personalized communications should go beyond plan choice; Employers need to provide employees access to an online/mobile benefits portal. Employees don’t live their life in a silo, why should their health, financial and work life benefits be managed separately? Modern solutions need to bring all of these together to enable seamless activity monitoring and planning.

2.Improve regular communication

HR professionals are at the helm of employee education and need to be able to communicate changes and actionable information in a cohesive way.

Technology can automate and distribute information to keep employees engaged without disrupting productivity, and giving consumers the power to select communication channels and timing can also improve the likelihood that the content will be well received and understood.

Automated solutions and platforms also enable HR professionals to deliver updates across devices for workers on the go. Much like a financial institution sends you an alert on your phone when your balance is low or a notification when you make a large purchase, HR professionals have the opportunity to adopt real-time, personalized touch points to allow seamless communication with employees.

All-in-one benefits platforms can keep today’s modern HR leaders on top of their game, giving employees greater confidence that they are making the right plan selections and decisions.

3.Empower employees for informed decision-making

Don’t leave healthcare benefits to chance. According to Mercer, enrollment in consumer-directed health plans among large employers nearly doubled in the past three years from 15% to 28% of covered employees.

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While greater choice due to market changes can be a good thing, HR professionals need to provide much more extensive guidance to help employees understand their options— especially when you consider that nearly 2 in 5 Americans spend less than 15 minutes deciding which health benefits they will take from their employer.

Platforms that can provide actionable information and historical trend data that illustrates what certain choices mean and how they may align to an employee’s particular situation will go a long way in driving informed decision-making and engagement.

For example, if an employee can scan through a list of pre-approved in-network doctors, learn their background and read cloaked reviews and experiences with that physician, they’re more likely to be satisfied with their choice, and ultimately, the service they receive.

In the end, benefits are one piece of the puzzle for creating a strong workplace culture. When healthy employees are happy employees, they will be able to do better work. With strong benefits – and the corresponding knowledge and support to tap into all they have to offer – employers will begin to see higher retention rates, greater employee engagement and a more thriving workplace environment.

Nancy Reardon

Nancy Reardon is chief product officer at Maestro Health.  Beginning her career with Aetna as a benefits analyst, Nancy quickly moved into leadership roles. Working closely with Aetna CEO, Ron Williams, she served as deputy chief of staff for 5 years, ensuring successful delivery of critical company initiatives. In 2013, Nancy was recruited by Aetna’s Specialty Business President to assume the head of strategy role, where she drove business planning, operational planning and collaboration. Establishing and managing the company’s Private Exchange, Nancy’s work helped Aetna competitively respond to the rapidly changing marketplace.