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How Technology Changes Benefits Game for Employees – and HR

Donna Bishop

How Technology Changes Benefits Game for Employees – and HR
by Donna Bishop
Senior Vice President, Raleigh Market Leader
Hub Interntional

It has been almost 30 years since launched the first online job recruitment website, a significant milestone for human resource technology. In 2018, 85% of all job applications were completed through similar apps, which has become an important recruitment tool for human resource departments.

The increasing digitization of society – and HR departments – has transformed every facet of the function. Recruitment efficiencies are only the beginning. Tech advances are enabling a deeper understanding of what motivates employees and making it easier to deliver individualized benefits and perks that matter.

It is giving employers the understanding of how to effectively leverage all these capabilities to their advantage when it comes to talent management.

Gain actionable insights to frame strategic benefits decision-making

For starters, technology has opened the door to vastly improved health benefits analytics that give employers of all sizes and funding arrangements actionable, real-time insights into their utilization patterns and healthcare costs and, the role that benefits can play in their employees’ lives.

Understanding what benefits matter and customizing them accordingly can be a tall order. The generational breakouts typically used to guide programs are no longer sufficient. Marketers use persona analysis to sell. HR is increasingly using employee persona analysis to improve cultures and engagement, to improve job performance and to reduce employee turnover.

It starts with gathering experiential data through pulse surveys or focus groups, enhanced with snapshot demographic analytics. Applying analytics to this data shows the commonalities and differences in a workforce, segmented by such parameters as: age and company position, when they entered the workforce and length of tenure with the employer, where they are at personally (married, starting families, nearing retirement) and their relationship, and expectations of employee benefits.

Looking into each part of the employee population illuminates the different paths on each employee’s journey and sheds light on any number of issues: How can you make benefits a personalized experience? How can you use analytics to guide the decisions that matter the most to your employees? What benefits will have the most impact on engagement, productivity and retention? How does the collective of thousands of individualized positive experiences impact your business?

Tech and the employee/benefits connection

The use of technology to better understand what employees need and want in their benefits is one thing. It has also enabled big advances in accessibility, improving employees’ engagement with the organization and the benefits it offers.

One of the most noteworthy advances may be the explosion in mobile benefit apps. It’s a logical channel given society’s dedication to its phones in an era when people check their phones multiple times a day.

Providing employees with a “one-stop shop” for accessing benefits information is convenient and saves them time and effort. In going this route, though, employers need to make sure the apps they choose are relevant and do the job. Here is what to look for:

  • Easy access to detailed benefits information. Employees should be able to quickly access necessary information such as co-pay requirements for dental procedures. Also, they should easily access reference documents, videos, and webinars that offer in-depth details on specific benefits programs.
  • Information on and promotion of differentiating benefits. A mobile app needs to highlight benefits that differentiate an organization — extensive wellness programs or assistance in managing debt, for example — and show employees how to access them.
  • Simplify enrollment. Instructions on a benefits app will increase engagement. A link to enrollment will further do the job as digital enrollment cuts down on paperwork and makes the process easier and faster. Documentation is important in making digital enrollment work: The app should include definitions for common benefits terminology, such as “eligibility,” “ancillary benefits,” and “pre-tax deductions.”
  • Easy access to contacts. A good benefits app has easily accessible contact information for insurance carriers, vendor partners, care providers and others. The information should include phone numbers, websites, email addresses and links to portals where employees can obtain specific information or get help. It also should have lists of telehealth providers and links to appointment portals.
  • Regular communications with workers. Benefits apps should provide employees with information about upcoming benefits enrollment and share information about employee benefits at regular intervals.

HR and benefits continue to rapidly evolve thanks to ever-improving technology. And it could not be happening at a better time.

About the author

Donna Bishop is Senior Vice President and Market Leader for the Raleigh office of HUB International. Serving as a valued partner, Donna assists clients in creating employee benefit program strategies, as well as other risk mitigation initiatives. She is passionate about servant leadership, both for the Raleigh team and for her clients. 

Her community involvement includes volunteering for a variety of local nonprofit organizations and serving as a board member of the North Carolina Community Foundation in Wake County, NC.

Donna holds licenses in Health and Life, Property and Casualty Insurance, as well as designations of Registered Health Underwriter and Certified Workers Compensation Specialist.

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