Hoping people use their benefits is one thing; inspiring genuine action is another.
This mindset has helped propel the personalized benefits movement as employers contend with a tight labor market. At a time when nearly 38% of the average U.S. worker’s pay comes in the form of benefits, it’s no wonder employers want people to take full advantage of what they offer.
We believe it’s much easier to inspire benefits action if you understand the person at hand. You can curate relevant benefits packages for your employees, but without ongoing and meaningful communications (sometimes that even go beyond benefits), you won’t be able to reach them on a personal level.
You likely have your own observations about personalized messaging—both the successes and the failures—from your own email inbox and social media feeds, but the art and science of creating personalized experiences goes so much deeper than that. Let’s explore it:
Expecting pushback? Think again
A recent study from Epsilon noted that 80% of respondents aged 18-64 indicated they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience, with 90% saying they find personalization appealing. Whether as a consumer or as an employee, people are becoming more open to tailored messaging and often welcome it, especially when it improves their experience.
Although mobile seems to be the favored mode of communication these days, laptops and direct mail still engage many people. Consider delivering your own targeted employee survey to gather insights on preferred messaging channels, especially if you’re planning to launch personalized messaging through just one channel, such as email or text messaging.
By meeting people where they are, you’re more likely to connect with them—and as a result, connect them with what they need.
Technology and the human touch, working together
According to McKinsey & Co., machine learning is getting more adept at practicing empathy. These developments are exciting and revolutionary, but we must remain cognizant of the value that true human support can bring to even the most advanced technologies. Even best-in-class technology and the most sophisticated data intelligence need that little something extra to reach people on a deeper level. That human element is key.
Occasionally adding communications outside the digital realm conveys to employees that you do, in fact, think of them as people. Whether it’s conducting in-person feedback sessions to complement targeted online surveys, or implementing a telephonic concierge service to guide people through their benefits, these extra efforts show employees you care about their experiences with the programs you’re offering—not just the resulting metrics.
Timing is everything
In a musical sense, cadence is about rhythm and timing; it works that way with communications, too.
Think back to your inbox and social media feeds. How many “cadence fails” can you count in terms of poorly timed or way-too-frequent messaging? Some of those fails may have even led you to delete emails or unfollow social media pages.
This is why it’s critical to reach people in the right moments—to avoid overwhelming them, and to prime them to tune in when it matters.
Employees and consumers are one and the same
As you develop your approach, don’t be afraid to look at best practices outside HR/benefits. Remember your employees are consumers, too. Consider asking them what they respond to in other instances: retail, entertainment, and so on. Meaningful experiences for them can span across industries (something we’ve taken to heart in product development).
At the end of the day, these questions can offer important clues as to who your employees are—which is what it’s all about.
Read the story of how connecting with one woman on a personal level led her to connect with benefits—and to make a life-saving decision.