It’s clear there is a disconnect between the benefits employees should consider during their workplace benefits enrollments and the reality of what they choose, especially when it comes to the younger generation — millennials. In fact, according to the 2016 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey, 24 percent of millennials did not think they spent enough time researching their health insurance options last year, which resulted in 69 percent of these millennials admitting they wasted money due to their benefits decisions.
However, one of the most important annual financial decisions employees can make is choosing workplace benefits. Given the importance of benefits to an individual’s overall financial health, helping the process run more smoothly could be an important difference for millennials and their financial futures.
Brokers are in the best position to ensure employers know how to communicate with millennials so they can make sound decisions when it comes to their benefits. Below are three ways that voluntary benefits options carriers can arm brokers with research, tools and support to better communicate benefits when it comes to the millennial generation.
Online always comes first
There is no doubt that millennials are tech-savvy and that most use the internet for shopping, ordering food and even finding a date. This preference also applies to how millennials prefer to research and read about their benefits. Compared to other generations, millennials are more likely to say that websites or other online sources of information were helpful when it comes to benefits education (70 percent).
Educate your clients on how many employees today are turning to online resources to find information, tools and tips about their company’s benefits packages. Be sure to remind clients that any online site should be optimized for mobile devices to allow easy, on-the-go access, as well.
In-person communication is more important than you think
Just because millennials are comfortable using the internet for research doesn’t mean they don’t also like a personal touch. Employers need to be wary of relying on only one communication vehicle to reach millennials. Given the importance of having information readily available online, many businesses are solely offering benefits education via email and online resources, including webcasts or podcasts. Although this accessibility is important, the survey also found that 60 percent of millennials would be willing to discuss their benefits options with someone face to face or over the phone.
Let your clients know that it may be helpful to broaden their communication strategies by offering in-person and one-on-one meetings with employees. This gives employees the opportunity to talk directly with a benefits adviser or representative from insurance carriers — which can be incredibly effective in educating them on a topic that can be confusing.
Starting early never hurt anyone
Too often, employers communicate their benefits program to workers all at once, overwhelming their workforce with an abundance of information. According to the Aflac survey, 83 percent of millennials said they need more time to feel confident before their next enrollment. A more effective strategy for employers could be to try communicating different segments of their benefits program throughout the months leading up to open enrollment.
To do this, employers can dedicate every other week to diving deeper into each of the benefits offered. This can improve the amount of information employees will retain, as well as make open enrollment a smoother, easier process.
Voluntarily offer voluntary
When communicating with millennials about benefits during open enrollment, employers should keep their financial circumstances — and eagerness to save — in mind.
Let employers know that voluntary benefits options are a great way to provide coverage that can help millennials avoid debt and retain financial independence. Employers will strike a chord with these workers, increasing their interest in open enrollment and their benefits engagement.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a solicitation.