“Up”ing Employee Engagement in Benefits Administration

Last week we spoke in one of my blog posts about benefits administration outsourcing as it relates to cost reduction for buyer organizations. And reducing benefits-related expenses and the cost for administering them is, of course, critical in today’s challenging economy.

But just as important is employee engagement in making benefits decisions. Why? If employees –young, ‘tweener or boomer age alike – are not properly engaged in making their own benefits decisions, they cannot make the right choices for their own, unique current and potential future circumstances.

Consider the 25 year old employee for whom retirement is many years away. Contributing to a 401(k) is likely not top of mind, especially given today’s low-return market. But by not making minimal contributions, they’re missing out on company matching which will, over the years, add quite a bit to their retirement pot! Or consider the older worker, perhaps five years away from retirement, who is trying to determine the best going-forward defined contributions plan for his or her unique circumstances.

It’s all about making sure employees have the right financial products and benefits in place to maximize their reward, but in as cost effective a manner as possible for both employees and employers.

So what can you do, via an outsourcing services provider, to “up” employee engagement in benefits administration? Just a sampling:

•  Personalize communications per employee, such as providing details on specific health conditions on landing pages that are relevant to each individual employee

•  Improve communications by tailoring promotions on available options per audience type, e.g., emailing younger employees and sending postcards to older ones

•  Provide better decision support, education, scenario modeling and health information system tools and resources, thus reducing the need for call center-based support

•  Offer financial modeling capabilities which enable participants to see, in real-time, how changing savings can effect retirement assets in real-time

•  Enable proactive linking of benefits decisions to life events, e.g., having a child, getting divorced, etc.

•  Improve access/promotion of self-service, encouraging employees to utilize all the tools and resources available to them to make the right choices at the right time

•  Provide access to online financial guidance resources and wider financial planning communications programs

•  Improve integration with wellness tools across process areas, e.g., completion of a health risk assessment provides a credit within payroll systems

To shed more light on this topic, I’ll be hosting a webcast “Utilizing Benefits Outsourcing to Enhance Participant Engagement” on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 @ 11:00am EDT, 16:00 GMT, 17:00 CET. The goal of this informative, complimentary session is to help you gain deep insights into the benefits outsourcing landscape, and provide you with some real-life examples of where outsourcing benefits has improved both participant engagement and benefit costs, creating a win-win company-employee situation.  Please click here to register today.

Until next time, happy sourcing!

Helen Neale, Research Director, Human Resources Outsourcing, NelsonHall

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