Benefits Professionals: Embracing the Change

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Changing Benefits Landscape

As 2016 progresses, consumer expectations are evolving, and benefits providers need to keep up with the times. Technology, consolidation, new competition, regulations and more are impacting the way that you do business, and keeping up with the all of this is pivotal to growing your firm in 2016, 2017, and beyond.

A new article from Benefits Pro took a look at the changing environment for benefits technology, and how providers can meet the needs of changing demographics and changing demands, offering tips and best practices for your firm.

The New Face of the Employee

With employees staying in the workforce longer, employers and benefits technology providers now need to communicate with up to four generations—the Silent Generation (born between 1925 and 1946), Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980), and the largest group, Millennials (born after 1980)—all having different needs, understanding of technology, and preferences, it takes a variety of methods to communicate your offerings with the employees.

Whether going high-tech or high-touch, communication is a consistent challenge, as only 18% of employees finding that communication is extremely effective, as shared in a recent HTI Blog, 4 Ways to Overcome Generation Gap Communication Challenges. Learn how to use old-school and new-school techniques in 4 Key Elements to a Successful Benefits Communications Plan.

All of this is not to mention that the workplace continues to be more culturally diverse—by 2060, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates there will be more than 110 million people who consider themselves Hispanic, black, or Asian.

“Benefit education and communications solutions can’t be one size fits all, but must be clear, relevant, and personalized to different populations within the workplace in order to be successful,” says Ray Marra, Senior Vice President, Group Products at Guardian.

Learn how to tailor benefits communication to all employees in How Employees want Communication Tailored.

New Employee Demands

While there is a diverse set of employees you need to communicate with, these employees have different wants and needs that you need to cater to.

America’s workers want benefits that are customized for their age and circumstances. They want a greater variety of benefits. They want to be engaged how, when, and where they choose. And they’re not easily satisfied, but they are willing to help pay as long as they get more choice.

The changing demands can be addressed through an effective combination of private exchanges, defined contribution, and voluntary benefits. With this combination, employees are empowered to make decisions based on their own health needs. See how this combination can improve the overall health of employees (as well as their spouses, children, and even pets) in How Private Exchanges Lead to Increased Voluntary Benefit Use.

Best Practices in a Changing Environment

Benefits Pro author Gavin Dean, Vice President of the Enrollment Center for Colonial Life and Unum US, shares his best practice to address this changing landscape as a benefits professional. His four suggestions are as follows:

  1. Focus on maximizing the health of your clients’ benefits and wellness plans through a life cycle approach;
  2. Provide your clients with tools that engage employees;
  3. Provide access to platforms that allow employees to engage how, when, and where for benefits education and enrollment;
  4. Provide administrative capabilities that maximize value to the organization’s talent management professionals.

Following these best practices can help guide tomorrow’s leading benefits marketers because they’re not focused on particular platforms or services or hot “apps.” Instead, they are focused on providing the best value and service to America’s workers and their employers.

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