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.

Inclusive Communication

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?

 

 

 

Danielle Love

Written by Danielle Love

Danielle is a benefits communications specialist, working on behalf of clients to write, edit and design dynamic print and virtual communications. She also manages the Trion Communications blog, which highlights the practice’s diverse areas of expertise.

Trion Communications Danielle.Love@trion-mma.com