July 18, 2019

How Technology Can Empower HR and Boost Benefits Programs

By Cari Murray

The process of designing a company's total rewards strategy never stops. A benefit that impresses employees today won't necessarily stay relevant in the future as generations age and new trends pop up.


This constant evolution can feel overwhelming for the benefits professionals charged with retaining talented employees, particularly when you consider today's competitive job market. Half of all adults say they would leave their current job for one with better benefits.1

“Better” looks different to every person — so how do you create a benefits package that stands apart? On top of that, how do you effectively promote those benefits so employees both know about them and appreciate them?

These are questions many in the HR industry seem to be asking. In a recent webinar, 42 percent of attendees stated that communicating to employees about their benefits is their top benefits challenge. Another 34 percent said their biggest challenge is building a comprehensive and compelling benefits strategy.

That's a lot of pressure on teams that are consistently short-staffed and under-resourced. They have to find ways to remove the manual lift and administrative burden.

Technology is key to better benefits communication

Unsurprisingly, technology platforms are helping to bridge a gap that hasn't previously been filled by corporate communications.

Research shows that as many as 80 percent of employees do not pay attention to the communications they receive about benefits.2 This happens for a variety of reasons: The information is confusing; recipients don't find the material valuable or relevant, or they can't access it in an easy way.

Many companies post benefits content on an internal channel, but employees don't intuitively know where to go to get it. Password-protected intranets and office bulletin boards prevent non-employees from accessing employer-provided benefits — which is especially problematic when a covered spouse is the ultimate decision maker for a household's healthcare and they can't find what they need.

It doesn't matter how great a benefits program is if employees and their families don't know or understand what is available to them. The most successful benefits strategies rely on a flexible, integrated platform that extends HR teams' robust communication plans beyond traditional methods and meets members where they're at.

A digital-first modern experience that fits into a company's existing benefits environment makes it convenient for all members to access the information they need in real time - similar to the consumer experiences they enjoy in other areas of their lives.

Downloading a mobile app or visiting a user-friendly website means they have a one-stop shop available to them whenever they need it. They can load all their dental, vision and medical ID cards in one place for easy access at the doctor's office. They can see they have corporate discounts while they're out shopping with just the push of a button. And they can easily connect with a benefits expert when they have questions whether they're standing in line at the grocery store or commuting home on the bus.

This last point is crucial: Technology on its own will never replicate the compassionate, high-touch care people need while navigating the complexities of healthcare and benefits. When seeking out new solutions, HR leaders want a platform that combines people and technology to reach, influence, support, and empower individuals to make better benefits decisions in moments that matter.

Design a competitive strategy your employees love

Want to learn more about how to help your team boost its benefits strategy? Check out our on-demand webinar with HR leaders who know what it takes to continuously improve employee benefits programs and stand out in a competitive job market. Apptio's Gina Goodrich and Accolade's Elizabeth Napolitano discuss the following:

  • The biggest challenges in recruiting and retaining top talent
  • How to intentionally design and evaluate a personalized benefits program
  • Ways to use technology to promote employee appreciation of your total rewards package

Download “Become Known as a Great Place to Work with Benefits Your Employees Love” today!

1 Yoh, March 2018, https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/04/11/1468489/0/en/Yoh-Survey-Excluding-a-Raise-Flexible-Work-Environment-and-Better-Benefits-Top-the-Reasons-Employed-Americans-Would-Accept-a-New-Job-Offer.html

2 International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, February 2016, https://www.ifebp.org/pdf/benefits-communication-survey-results.pdf