Thinking Mobile First for Employee Benefits Engagement

Why You Should Think Mobile First for Benefits Engagement

What's roughly the same size as an index card and more than two-thirds of Americans own? If you don’t know already, here's a hint. You can use it to deposit checks, find a job and shop for almost anything. The answer: a mobile device. We rely on mobile devices for access to nearly everything in our daily lives. In fact, one-in five Americans are “smartphone-dependent” — accessing online services and information solely from their mobile device. On the business side, companies invest in mobile optimization to reach customers and mobility is now part of many workforce cultures. So, if mobile permeates so many aspects of our business and personal lives, why shouldn’t it be part of something that affects our lives so deeply like benefits?

To take the first step, HR leaders should start thinking mobile first. And not only in communication efforts targeting employees, but also in the overall benefits enrollment experience. This is especially prudent now that millennials are fully integrated into the workforce, and we’re also starting to see the entrance of Gen Z — a group that is more attached to mobile devices than previous generations. Reaching these digital natives as well as older generations of your workforce should go past mobile access to company intranet (which is not always designed for easy access and viewing on mobile) and meet them where they are.

Keep the lines of communication open with your employees with these key mobile engagement tools:  

Mobile Apps

Mobile apps can make benefits engagement much easier with anywhere, anytime access. It’s also where people spend their time. According to an IAB-commissioned Harris Poll, smartphone users spend 88 percent of their time in apps, versus 12 percent on the mobile web. Employees recognize the benefit of having this information at their fingertips, too. Forty-two percent of employees say that the ability to access information quickly and easily has the greatest impact on their productivity levels.

In addition to productivity levels, there’s a distinct impact on a personal level. Imagine one of your employees being in the hospital with a new baby. This is a major life event that requires changes to your benefits. Now, if you don’t have a mobile app or at least a mobile optimized site, this process becomes much more tedious for your employee and most likely the last thing they want to juggle. By providing mobile access to benefits information, that employee could update his or her benefits right from the maternity ward meaning better benefits engagement, increased ease of use and increased company loyalty.

Push Notifications

Push notifications can help drive employee engagement, and they're a great way to move people through the open enrollment journey. With simple messages, you can prepare employees and encourage them to enroll. Additionally, you can target personalized messages to unique employee groups based on parameters including location, job level and eligibility status. 

Examples:

Did you know OE is coming up? Be prepared - view your current benefits now!

Hi! Your benefits are waiting. Start enrolling today!

Text Message

SMS text is a powerful tool to inform employees of important upcoming events like open enrollment. In the U.S., 97 percent of smartphone owners use text and 98 percent of text messages received are opened within three minutes, which is eight times higher than the engagement rate for email.1 A short message delivered to employees’ mobile devices will most likely be read, and it saves time and creates more touch points along the journey to open enrollment. But make it snappy! You want to entice them to take action. 

Examples:

Hey there! This year, save money with a different benefits plan. Find out how: (link to benefits site) 

Want to be retirement ready? Your HSA is calling. Increase your contribution here: (link to benefits site) 

Investing in mobile-friendly benefits technology could be vital to helping your employees get the most out of their benefits. Next time you start preparing for OE, think mobile!

For more ways to engage employees this OE, check out the white paper Communicating the Value of Benefits: Strategies for a Successful OE!

1 http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/ussmartphone-use-in-2015/

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