Industry Trends: Member Engagement & Communications in a Virtual World

Industry Trends: Member Engagement & Communications in a Virtual World

Employers everywhere are continuing to respond to arguably the most disruptive and dangerous force to the business and service industries in modern history. As part of this pandemic calamity, many organizations are evaluating existing health care benefits and retirement programs as well as assessing voluntary benefits, enhancing Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs), and revising paid time off and family leave policies. Employers must also consider finding ways to shift their standard communication policies to account for a workforce that is largely working from home and which looks to be the ‘new norm’ for the foreseeable future.

Without a doubt, this will also have a significant impact on how you approach this year’s open enrollment communication—how to communicate with your virtual workforce, the frequency of touch points, and the metrics for success. Benefits are more important than ever and yet research over the last few years has shown that employee attention spans have significantly declined, and over 80% of organizations reported that their employees never even open a benefits guide.

Pandemic aside, benefits communications should be a strategic, year round effort.  Benefits, options, and insights are easier to absorb and embrace when done with consistency and frequency rather than just inside a small open enrollment window. Employers need to move past paper-based and manual processes and drive as much online experience and communication channels as possible. Social blogging, tile texting, mobile applications, and other social media methods have a far more reaching impact than the traditional methods.

Sophisticated, virtual online platforms can supplement in-person meetings yet still maintain the look and feel of a true workplace meeting.  Carriers and benefits experts can ‘sit’ in virtual break out rooms to answer questions and guide benefit discussions for those looking for specific insights on particular plans or options.  There is also the ability to allow for question and answer sessions, ask confidential and/or anonymous questions, play videos, and more.

The unique communications challenge COVID-19 has created provides an opportunity to transform the way your business approach benefits communication and education—and as your trusted advisor, we are here to help strategize the best path forward.