Does your employee benefits education program consist of handing out dusty benefits manuals and sending a single novel-length email from HR? If so, you could be severely missing the mark when it comes to truly educating your workforce.
In fact, according to a recent EBRI study, only 52% of employees claim to understand their health benefits; only 39% report that their employer provides education or advice on how their health insurance works.
There is clearly a gap between the programs and perks being offered and the level of understanding about these programs and perks. And, it’s not hard to see why; hundreds of new health care laws and regulations have been enacted in the past few years, and that trend isn’t going to change any time soon. Just as HR leaders are struggling to fully understand the nuances and compliance requirements of new regulations, employees are struggling to grasp plan changes and how their benefits actually work. Seemingly simple concepts are lost on many employees, who are often surprised by health care bills down the road.
Employees that have a better grasp on benefits plans are more engaged, productive and happier overall than employees that are left in the dark on perks. A Unum study found that even if employees don’t have particularly good benefits, those that said they received a quality education about the benefits they were offered were far more likely to consider their employer a “very good”’ place to work.
So, how can your organization close the gap in employee benefits education? The answer is simple — video.
Are you rolling out a new plan option or program this year this year? Have you switched carriers? Do you have a new timeframe for open enrollment? All of these, and more, are ideal scenarios to educate and engage your workforce with video.
Integrating video into your employee benefits education strategy is a long-term strategy. Many of the materials you produce will have a long shelf life and can be referenced outside of just open enrollment for year-round, on-demand education and support.
Kick off with video
Kick off your open enrollment on a high note with a video announcement. This video can be embedded directly in an email announcement or shared via a text message announcement, in private social media groups, etc. A good video announcement will be short and include only the most important information, like the dates of open enrollment and what information employees will need to enroll. Using video for your initial open enrollment announcement will help employees remember the dates and required materials for enrollment and will set the precedent for other videos in the future.
Video is a natural fit for educating employees on specific benefits-related concepts. Many companies produce high-quality and affordable videos that can be used to explain everything from plan types (ex: PPO vs HDHP), plan definitions (ex: What is a co-pay?), and even voluntary benefits (ex: How much life insurance do I need?). Some benefits providers may also have videos available.
If your technology allows, embedding helpful videos within the shopping and enrollment experience is a great way to add additional decision support when it matters most. Decision support is no longer just “nice to have,” rather, employees expect to be guided through the benefits shopping experience. Close the gap in education with real-time access to educational materials throughout the selection process.
Keep the videos available
Host your videos on your intranet or on your a benefits platform or website for year-round reference. That will keep them available for reference throughout the year and useful for onboarding new employees, to introduce a new wellness initiative or pilot program, or to answer ongoing questions that employees might have.
Of course, this all sounds great in theory, but does video actually work? The answer is a resounding yes. But, don’t take my word for it. Take a look at some benefits videos and see for yourself.
Getting started with video is easier than you think. First, reach out to your insurance broker or benefits technology provider to discuss any available options they might provide. If your partners do not have any solutions available or recommendations on hand for a video provider, a quick google search will yield plenty of options to help get you started.