Communicating Benefits with Technology

Social media and other tools are changing the way we communicate with the world.  Some companies are embracing these tools to engage employees in health and benefits decisions.  One such company (which administers benefits for 550,000 employees, retirees and dependents) decided to cut back on their printed publications, kept some key mailings, but expanded its reach through email, YouTube videos and Facebook postings.  It reported that one result showed increased use of generic drugs, saving money for both employees and the company.

Besides email and intranet communication, how else can employers effectively communicate with and engage employees?

Social media can be very helpful getting people to join together for a common goal, even if they are geographically diverse.  Fitness “teams” don’t have to live/work nearby in order to participate.

Blogs are a great way to educate people by giving small amounts of information over time.  Various vendors and carriers have content available online to help get one started.

Video clips can be made with many smart phones and are easy to post.  Perhaps someone from HR can walk around, talking to various people about a subject.  Employees may be interested in what their colleagues are thinking and saying.

Games can be created to provide both education and entertainment.  A texting game may require employees to “scavenge” key information about their benefit plan.

Quick response code readers are commonly available as smart phone apps.  Add codes to printed materials so interested employees can receive additional product information or coupons, for example.

Text messages are great tools for reminders or reiterating information which has already been given out.  However, they are not practical for introducing large changes.

From Business Insurance, February 13, 2012 issue, pp. 9-11.