An increasing number of firms are starting to deliver benefits info through electronic channels like email, social media and even text messaging. So are the traditional communication methods obsolete?
The answer to that question is a resounding “No.” At least according to Prudential’s Eighth Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond.
The report found that group meetings and seminars are still the most successful communication methods used by employers. In fact, 74% of the firms in the study reported having “great” or “moderate” success with these methods.
So even though digital communication is becoming more prevalent, employers recognize that the tried-and-true methods remain important.
As Jean Wiskowski, the VP of sales strategies at Prudential put it:
Digital communication vehicles continue to develop and progress around us but are not completely eclipsing traditional avenues of communication. Rather, employers are finding themselves relying on a full suite of tools to reach a dynamic and evolving workforce.
Rounding out the five most successful communication methods cited by employers:
- individual, one-on-one meetings (72%)
- email (68%)
- toll-free phone number (61%), and
- home mailings (60%).
What employees actually want
Despite the fact that employers insist traditional methods are still the most effective means of relaying benefits info, workers’ responses in the report tell a different story.
The top-five employee preferences regarding benefits communication are:
- work email (47%)
- personal email (28%)
- group meetings (19%)
- online avatar designed to recommend benefits that meet your needs (19%), and
- individual, one-on-one meetings (18%).
Focus on year-round education
The Prudential report also uncovered a very encouraging trend regarding benefits communication: More firms are focused on providing year-round education to workers.
When firms were asked which communication methods would best support an effective year-round approach, their responses were as follows:
- email (84%)
- home mailings (77%)
- sign-up on benefit website (76%)
- phone calls (75%), and
- text messages (46%).
The future of mobile benefits info
Finally, the report looked at the ways in which employers expected to be able receive benefits-related info in future. According to Prudential, five years from now firms expect to be able to do the following benefit-related activities via mobile devices:
- use financial planning tools (60%)
- obtain info about insurance plans (59%)
- manage retirement savings accounts (59%)
- submit a claim (56%)
- enroll (55%), and
- submit evidence of insurability (47%).