As part of an article I recently wrote for Benefit Selling regarding trends to expect in 2016, I solicited help from a handful of friends I consider among the smartest professionals in the industry. Due to article length constraints, I wasn’t able to share everything, however, they are graciously sharing their ideas here on our blog.

Our next guest blogger in the series is Jen Benz, Founder and CEO at Benz Communications. They have been on the leading edge of employee benefits communication for the past decade, building their unique brand on results-driven, employee-focused communication. Jen and her team help employers foster environments with engaged, loyal, satisfied, productive—and profitable— employees by helping them understand and engage with their benefits.

In Jen’s own words

Jen Benz Employee Benefits CommunicationThe divide between corporate communications (especially benefits communication) and the rest of our lives becomes greater and greater every year. We are already seeing that the employers who invest in engaging employees can leap ahead of their competitors and take average benefits and make them feel exceptional. I hope more companies will see that value soon -- before they see negative consequences. 

Start by doing the basics

Most companies greatly under-invest in communications, so, a revolutionary idea would be for every company to simply do the basics: Have a good user-friendly web resource for employees and families and communicate year-round to help them understand and use their benefits. 

And then offer much more guidance and personalization

I think employers will soon give up on the idea of "good consumers of health care" and realize that employees need way more help and guidance. It would be a very good thing for employers to start to invest in those high-touch resources and designing plans and programs that guide decisions, rather than shifting costs and hoping employees figure it out. 

Personalization and targeting are badly needed in benefits. It is easy for employers to create a higher touch experience just by targeting communications to make programs more relevant -- I hope we'll see lots of this in the year ahead!

Photo by uditha wickramanayaka.

 

7 insurance agency trends in 2016