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Unum’s (NYSE: UNM) annual study of American workers finds that enough time and the right tools are still the key ingredients to an effective benefits education.
“This is the fourth year we’ve conducted this study, and our research has consistently found that the key to an effective benefits education campaign is a three-plus-three communication strategy,” said Kelly McClusky, director of marketing communications at Unum. “Allowing employees at least three weeks to review information, and providing that information in at least three formats, adds up to a better benefits education and enrollment experience.”
A positive assessment of benefits education is strongly related to overall workplace satisfaction. The research shows that four in five (82%) employees who rated their benefits education highly also rated their employer as an excellent/very good place to work.
“When employers give their employees enough time and resources to learn about benefits, the payoff can be positive for both the employer and the employee,” McClusky said. “We consistently see that when employees experience an effective approach to benefits education, they also have higher levels of engagement, morale and loyalty.”
The study of more than 1,100 employed adults by Harris Interactive was completed following the 2011 benefits enrollment period.
To better meet the various learning styles among employees, the results indicate offering education materials in at least three formats is a critical part of the benefits education process.
According to the study, 90 percent of employees who were asked to review their benefits within the past year used the information made available to them. Printed materials, employer emails, personalized statements and employer intranets were among the most likely to be utilized:
66 percent of employees used printed materials or brochures to learn more about their benefits when given the opportunity.
59 percent of employees who had access to personal statements utilized them to get information about their benefits.
58 percent of employees accessed information on their employer’s Intranet or from email communications from their employers when it was offered.
Unfortunately, the study also reveals that employee access to benefits resources has remained significantly lower than 2008 levels.