Earlier this week, a couple of friends and I were talking about marketing and sales delivery. Someone said, “Amazon is the Sears catalog of the 21st century” and we proceeded to draw parallels. Both expedite selection, purchase, payment and delivery of many products. During the 20th century, Sears became a behemoth, with brick-and-mortar stores in urban and suburban locations and a catalog for people in more remote locations. This resulted in a company that could be seen as a combination of today’s Amazon and Walmart.

During the discussion, my mind drifted toward voluntary employee benefits. As my friends debated why Sears gradually dwindled into obscurity, I wondered: Is the process we offer employees more like the Sears catalog or the Amazon home page? Advances are clearly moving us towards an Amazon-like user experience. But there’s a problem.

Even though we have made the process easier and are delivering benefit choices through digital media, surveys of employees continue to show dissatisfaction. Employees dislike the process of benefit enrollment and voluntary enrollment tends to be a prominent contributor to this. Employees want to be better informed about their choices, but they do not seem to want to spend more time learning from the information we provide.

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