In 2007, Peter Saravis and Prashant Srivastava set out to answer a question: why can’t healthcare be as accessible, clear, and friendly as everything else consumers use? Together, the two friends joined forces to create Evive, an ambitious startup that would go on to make healthcare more understandable and relevant to employees.
Now, 10 years later, our co-founders have set out to answer another question: why can’t benefits be as accessible, clear, and friendly as everything else consumers use? Healthcare is only one of numerous benefits that employees and employers alike struggle to manage, and we found that most people are as disconnected from the rest of their benefits as they are from health-related programs. We think it’s time for a shift in how people feel about all benefits.
And we chose to set the bar as high as it’ll go: love.
So, why love? Why make benefits emotional? Hear us out…
We saw companies investing so much in benefits programs, all for employees who viewed benefits as hard to use, and in turn, avoided using them to the full extent—and that’s if they even knew about them in the first place. In fact, one of our clients found that its employees had been repeatedly asking that a new benefit be offered—one that had been in place for years! The outlook on benefits was simply disappointing given the amount of effort and money being put into them by employers, so we decided to dive a little deeper into the issue. We asked people how they feel about benefits; here’s what they said:
Employees perceived benefits as something difficult, and therefore, hesitated to explore them. On the flipside, we asked employers how they wanted people to feel about benefits (hint: they felt differently)…
The question that came to our minds: How do we bridge such a gap? Our solution: Get employees involved—in engaging ways that inspire meaningful action.
Benefits love for employees
Now, what does this mean exactly? Benefits love for employees is about feeling connected to the opportunities available to them: better healthcare options, financial stability, and work/life success. Imagine, as an employee, easily understanding the most logical times to increase your 401(k) contributions, the discounted gym memberships you can access, or what hospitals are available to you for specialized care—all without having to shuffle through paperwork or hunt down your HR team.
We’ve found that by sending employees personalized communications (a.k.a. nudges) about their benefits in the moments they’re most likely to use them, awareness goes up and frustration goes down. When we intelligently organize all the available information (a.k.a. big data) in ways that eliminate the barriers to benefits use, there’s room for love.
Benefits love for employers
When employees love their benefits, employers benefit too. What exactly does benefits love bring to employers? For one, a happier workforce. HR executives are seeing the value in benefits to recruit, engage, and retain great talent. When 87% of employees say benefits are a top motivator for workforce satisfaction, it’s hard not to embrace that strategy.* By offering benefits that people a) care about, and b) know how to use, companies differentiate themselves with a strategic advantage in a crowded job market. Moreover, they position themselves as leaders in the space, paying attention to common employee needs that often aren’t being met.
Furthermore, benefits love for employers means gaining a greater return on their benefits investment. The continually rising costs of benefits plus low utilization is a formula for frustration—and waste. While a major reason for this is simply lack of awareness, another piece of the problem is the fact that many benefits chosen by companies might not be relevant to their employees. By gaining a deeper understanding of the different goals and life stages of your workforce, you, as an employer, can better target your benefits offerings.
Love begins at home
As we develop benefits programs for our own employees, we listen carefully to feedback. We pay attention to what people respond to and what they use (and what they don’t)! Like our clients, we’re continuously learning and adapting.
A popular example: We offer free, catered lunch in our downtown Chicago office once a week. Our teammates attend in record numbers, and the food always gets eaten. Historically, we did this on Fridays, but when our staff realized there were almost always leftovers that went to waste over the weekend, we took that input and moved our free lunches to Thursdays. Not only do our employees enjoy and appreciate this benefit, they maximize its value and prevent wastefulness. A simple feedback loop helps us bring the love.
*Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting, November 2015