The average American accesses over 30 apps on our smartphone each month. We use them to do everything from learn a new language to look up movie times.
But has your company considered the powerful role apps can play to engage employees in their benefits? Don’t be afraid of an apps-based open enrollment. It may be just the thing to target tech-savvy, time-crunched employees.
Enrollment at Their Fingertips
Did you know Americans spend more time interacting with smartphone apps than watching TV? Sure, some of that time might be spent playing Fortnite or Minecraft, but there are more productive uses of app time.
There’s a strong chance the third-party software you use for open enrollment has an app. Instead of selecting and monitoring benefits from their computers, employees chose them from their smartphones. This may be the secret to reach today’s busy, on-the-go workers. If a large portion of your workforce isn’t deskbound, an open enrollment app makes benefits selection easy.
Apps are key to educate employees about their benefits. Trion’s iBenefits app puts control right in employees’ hands. They can securely view their plan information whenever they want and contact carriers with a simple click.
Meet employees where they are (on their smartphones) and they will value you as an employer. Take the time to communicate the ease of use of these enrollment apps. They help employees stay engaged in their benefits.
Employee procrastination can be a challenge to meeting deadlines. Why not give employees the nudge they need? Some third-party apps send push notifications to remind staff about important open enrollment dates.
Do it Yourself Apps
If you want more control over the features of an open enrollment app, or if you are feeling adventurous, you can create your own app. Proprietary app development is more expensive and time-consuming than using off-the-shelf employee benefits apps. Yet, it offers some convincing pros.
Customized apps offer greater security and easier integration with your existing software. If your employees’ make benefits choices through your company intranet, then a complimentary app may work best. With a DIY app, you control the features and maximize how you engage employees in their benefits.
For the highest quality results, hire a professional app developer. Search for developers with knowledge of employee benefits and experience creating similar apps. The upfront expense of someone with app-building expertise ensures all the kinks are ironed out upon launch.
Communicate About Carrier Apps
After open enrollment, continue the conversation around apps. Do your employees know most carriers offer an app? They can access ID cards, find doctors and schedule appointments, check HSA or FSA balances, and more. Apps aren’t limited to medical carriers. Employees can check and adjust 401(K) balances, get supplemental life insurance quotes, and book conversations with EAP counselors from the palm of their hands.
Your role as their employer is to teach them about these options. Create educational pieces, like short, instructional videos that walk through the apps’ functions. Or, combine in-person and digital education and host a meeting that showcases how to download and access the offerings. Teach employees how they can stay engaged in their benefits with apps throughout the year.
You always need to consider the communications preferences of all your workers. An open enrollment that’s only apps-based would not work. Add apps to the mix of communications options, like online guides and printed booklets and face-to-face meetings. You know your staff best. Tailor your open enrollment communications approach to meet their needs.
It may be too late to introduce apps for this year’s open enrollment. However, it’s not too early to think ahead to next year. What do you want the future of enrollment to look like?
Employee communications videos are an increasingly viable and popular way to connect and engage with your staff. While you still may choose other methods for your internal communications (multiple channels are important to make sure your message is heard), adding video to your toolkit is a beneficial way to bring your communications to life. Video grabs employees’ attention faster than email, long presentations, large documents, or lengthy team meetings.
One major reason for the popularity of videos is that they are fast, interactive and entertaining ways to digest information. Data shared by YouTube shows that people watch one billion hours of video on the platform every day. Another benefit of video is analytics. Statistics give you the ability to see how many people viewed your employee communications videos, assess your video strategy, and adjust that strategy if needed.
Employee Communications Videos Connect With Younger Employees
Employee communications videos help you stay relevant in the changing workplace. Gen Z, people born after 1994, has started to graduate college and find jobs. This wave of new employees shows preference for video. A study by Awesomeness shows this generation watches an average of 68 videos each day.
It’s vital to make sure employee communications videos are mobile friendly, since Gen Z can’t remember a time before cell phones. Their preferred way to consume videos is on their phones. Make sure all your employees hear, understand and remember important internal messages by adding video your communications mix.
Short and Sweet Employee Communications Videos Win Attention
Being mindful of your video’s length is a proven way to ensure your message reaches the most viewers possible—and keep their attention. Wistia, a video hosting platform, looked at 564,710 videos and more than 1.3 billion plays to determine the relationship between video length and viewer engagement. What they discovered is viewer engagement is steady up to 2 minutes.
After that two minute mark, there is a significant drop off in viewers. This suggests short and sweet is the best policy. If your employee communications video needs to be longer, put the most important information within the first two minutes.
Adding video to your toolkit is another useful way to bring your employee communications to life. It’s a necessary tool for communications teams who want to ensure all employees receive and pay attention to important messages.
There are many ways to communicate information to employees. Some are more successful than others, when you know your employees’ communications preferences and what works in your organization. If you haven’t tried it already, research tells us the value of video and audio. Content distributed through video and audio (like podcasts) is one of the most powerful ways to ensure your message sticks with your audience.
In fact, research says people process visuals 60,000 times faster than plain text. The value of video and audio for employee communications is endless; some ways include interaction, repetitiveness, and savings.
Value of Interactivity
Have you ever noticed people can become distracted while you’re giving a regular PowerPoint presentation? They check their phones, stare out the window or worse yet, nod off a bit. That’s a sign there may be better ways to get your message across. It starts with a robust mix of communications tactics, like print, presentations, and especially, audio and video. In the digital world we live in, more and more people recognize the value of audio and video to get their information.
At Trion, we use the cloud-based technology, Brainshark, to create narrated and often animated video presentations in PowerPoint. These engage our clients’ employees around benefits and allow Human Resources teams to create compelling and interesting presentations. This approach has been extremely successful because of the robust functionality and interactivity of the platform.
Interactive videos keep employees engaged and alert, which helps to effectively communicate important information.
Value of Repetition
When you communicate important information to employees, you can do more than just hope that they’ll remember and comprehend it. You can repeat it – over and over again. Research shows repetition is one of the keys of effective communications.
Stats also show people comprehend illustrated text (or text with design) 83% more effectively than text alone. Sharing content through audio and video supports not only retention, but increases the likelihood information will be shared. Digital content can be passed along easily and quickly, again proving the value of video and audio for employee communications.
Value of Savings
By sending audio and video content to our clients, we help them save time and money. They don’t have to travel to different parts of the company to hold face-to-face meetings with employees. Instead, they can send that information through the computer, using cloud-based technology that doesn’t require any back-end technology on their part. Spouses and dependents outside of the company’s firewalls can access this information. Clients get analytics and other information about how employees consume the information.
Video and audio shows its value in employee communications because it gets straight to the point. This content helps you communicate clear, concise, and valuable information to your employees. Employees can re-watch digital presentations, like Brainshark, which eliminate confusion over core information.
Video and audio is a great add to your marketing/communications mix. It’s a necessary tool that can help your company engage and inform employees, while being mindful of the bottom line.
I just got back from a great conference designed to help graphic designers hone their technical skills and people who run creative agencies (like me) hone their businesses. It was soooo inspirational, I felt almost giddy being there. To my curious, ambitious, and introspective self, it was five days of pure bliss: Traveling with a pack of creatives, hopping from one 45-minute session to the next, learning how to, among other things, apply better process to our practice, design our best lives, and “shut our monkeys” (e.g., quiet that inner voice that says you can’t …).
I felt like a kid in a candy store. I was so excited, that after each session, I wanted, no, I NEEDED to talk about it. But when I looked for someone close by to say, “Wow, wasn’t that awesome??” I was met with this:
We just listened to the genius futurist on the stage predict that, in the not-too-distant future, graphic designers will be designing human tissue instead of websites. Who wants to discuss? Anyone?
Despite my incredibly focused staring or twitching leg, nobody on either side of me EVER looked up. I was starting to feel very alone until I reminded myself of what I tell clients every day – that burying your face in your smart phone is more than just accepted protocol; nowadays, it’s the way of the world. And not just for employees in retail or manufacturing environments, who don’t sit behind a computer. But, apparently, also for people who are sitting practically on top of you in a cramped conference hall.
The bottom line? We all better get used to it and adjust our communications strategies accordingly.
More mobile—that’s the takeaway. If your communications strategy does not holistically include this approach (along with other media, of course), you’re missing the mark. In the quest to meet employees where they are, know that, by all accounts, they’re on their phones and tablets. So you must be there as well.
There are lots of ways to do it:
- Develop a mobile-optimized benefits website
- Push out content and reminders via text
- Create a simple video using a cloud-based platform like Brainshark that’s easily accessible from any device, anywhere
Options like these are worth exploring. Because if you’re waiting for them to look up and pay attention to your traditional communications, you may be waiting for a while. You know what they say: “If you can’t beat them, join them.”
For my part, I took my own advice. By day two I had stopped feeling sorry for myself and started texting with a colleague who was also at the conference. Sure, it wasn’t the same as huddling with the strangers around me—or even meeting someone new—but it did the trick just the same.