Only one-quarter of U.S. employers communicating benefits all year

Yet three-quarters looking for year-round engagement: Survey
||Last Updated: 08/15/2012

Given the combined pressures of health-care reform, an unsettled economy and an unhealthy and financially unstable workforce, HR professionals are increasingly looking to benefits communication to motivate behaviour change among employees and families, and help manage costs, according to a survey.

Seventy-eight per cent of employers cited getting employees engaged year-round among their biggest challenges, yet only 28 per cent are communicating with employees year-round, found the survey by HR and benefits communication strategy boutique Benz Communications.

Employers' top goals include executing a successful annual enrollment (60 per cent), increasing workers' use of preventive care (48 per cent) and increasing employees' savings for retirement, found the survey of 298 benefits professionals. About one-quarter (24 per cent) said they met these goals last year while 18.8 per cent weren't sure.

Despite more than one-half of respondents (55.6 per cent) reporting that the effectiveness of their benefits communication efforts has improved during the last three years, 45.4 per cent aren't satisfied with their current communications strategy and 28 per cent are ambivalent.

About one-quarter (24.2 per cent) are connecting their benefits strategy to their company's bigger business strategy while 46.9 per cent said they try. More than one-half (54.6 per cent) do not document their benefits communication strategy and 41 per cent aren't sure if their benefits communication efforts are helping them meet their goals.

"Companies are missing a huge opportunity to improve the success of their benefits programs and use their benefits communications to meet their larger strategic goals," said Jennifer Benz, Benz Communications' founder and CEO.

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