Technology platforms have changed the way many consumers shareinformation about their friends, family, jobs, causes, hobbies andmuch more. Technology also has impacted consumer expectationsregarding the way they receive information. The preferred method ofcommunication for many has shifted from printed, physical materialsto instant, digital messages. As a result, the way brokers andemployers share information about benefits and enrollment has alsochanged with the availability of benefits management platforms.Agents, consultants and brokers who offer a technology platform canprovide a new and better way to communicate and manage benefitsprograms.

Reaching employees

Employee benefits are a key driver of employee satisfaction, yet many employees do not realize thefull value of their benefits package. An article in WorkforceManagement noted that 96 percent of employers say theiremployees need guidance to make sound benefits decisions, yet only23 percent of employees say their company’s benefits educationefforts are effective. To improve your own client relationshipswhile potentially increasing enrollment, arm your employer clientswith tools to better educate employees about their benefitspackages. Benefit management platforms that enable employees toshop, compare and enroll in benefits give your clients anopportunity to improve employee satisfaction and ensure thatemployees fully understand the breadth of benefits offeringsavailable. An effective platform should include:

24/7 access from any device. In a June 2011study, SunLife Financial reported 71 percent of employees preferlearning about benefits online. Using an online benefits platformmaximizes access to benefits information and allows employees toenroll in benefits when it is most convenient for them. Theplatform should be available year-round for employees, not justduring open enrollment. Choosing a platform with mobilecapabilities further enhances accessibility, allowing employees tolearn about or enroll in their benefits from any handheld mobiledevice.

Visibility into total costs of benefits. Totalbenefits costs include employee payroll deductions, taxes andemployer costs. With the rise of health care consumerism, employeesneed to be aware of the various benefits packages offered by anemployer and their associated total costs. Plan comparison toolshelp employees view coverage and expenses for a variety of benefitsplans, allowing employees to choose the best option for theirunique situation. To help employees further understand the value oftheir benefit packages, employers can offer a view of theemployee’s total compensation package within the platform,including base salary, incentives, vacation and benefits. Thistotal compensation analysis is an effective employee education andretention tool that quickly helps employees understand theircompany’s financial commitment.

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