As you sit down to discuss enrollment strategies with your clients, you’re facing some significant hurdles: Employees. It’s no secret that employees find insurance daunting. They can get overwhelmed and confused, and oftentimes inertia and procrastination win over action.
It’s important to remove factors like procrastination, choice overload, perceived hassle costs and more, so we can help so many consumers make the right decisions.
In order to do that, employers need to use strategies that maximize consumer education and participation and tools that reflect insights into consumer psychology. Following these five tips to enrollment will help employees make the best choices with the best possible purchase experience.
How information is presented to employees impacts the decision-making process. More information doesn’t always lead to better decisions, in fact quite the opposite. We understand that presenting too many options can overwhelm employees and lead to decision paralysis.
When confronted with too many options, workers often don’t know what they really need or where to start. Studies on buying behaviors suggest that if we help employees focus on the two benefits they are most likely to purchase, they can more easily make decisions without being overwhelmed.
People make decisions based on events or values known to them. They also hinge numerical decisions on the first number that they hear.
When communicating with employees about benefits, it’s helpful to start with a reference point. For example, compare the cost of an insurance product (disability insurance $15/mo for $50K salary) to other costs an employee may already have (car insurance $75/mo for $20K car). This strategy creates a point of reference and can help employees appreciate the value of the coverage.
Employees want guidance on benefits buying decisions, particularly from people like them. In behavioral science, this is known as social norms. Using concepts that show what benefits other people like them purchase, helps employees make the best buying decisions to protect themselves and their family.
Automatically scheduling appointments with a benefits counselor – rather than leaving attendance as optional or voluntary – makes a big difference in overcoming employee inertia.
The enrollment process shouldn’t end once an employee has signed up for coverage. After enrollment, sending employees a congratulatory letter about their benefit choices is a great way to reinforce their buying decisions.
Employee benefits have rarely been as widely discussed and considered as they have been in this era of reform. So there has never been a more important time to focus on communicating with employees about the complete financial protection benefits picture.
We truly believe that by engaging with employees in a way that makes insurance more human, can help them make better and more-informed benefits choices. And all this adds up to a great consumer experience and higher participation.
Photo: AP Photo/David Goldman
Najla Frayha is vice president of consumerism at Unum.