Recent research shows wellness programs are often poorly understood — and there’s a surprising gap between what employers and employees think: 57 percent of employers believe their employees have a good understanding of the health and wellness programs offered and how to participate, but only 41 percent of employees agree they have a strong grasp of the programs offered. 1

Personalized communication is effective

One-to-one employee communication, delivered in partnership with a benefits provider, offers a cost-effective means to build understanding and enhance engagement in these programs. Surveys with more than 20,000 employees who met individually with a benefits communication counselor show nearly all (96 percent) say it improved their understanding of benefits, and 98 percent say the interaction was important. 4

Beefing up communication through one-to-one benefits counseling can help drive participation in a company’s wellness offerings, as well as improve understanding and appreciation of the entire benefits package. Employers should pay extra attention to younger, less-educated and lower-paid employees who tend to have a significantly lower level of understanding about their benefits, including wellness programs, the white paper points out. 3

“Companies of all sizes can use wellness programs to improve employee health,” said Bygott. “By focusing on communication that addresses the needs and desires of key employee groups — particularly younger, less educated and lower paid workers — employers can successfully engage more program participants and enjoy greater benefits.”

The complete white paper is available in Colonial Life’s online newsroom at ColonialLife.com.

About Colonial Life

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing insurance benefits for employees and their families through the workplace, along with individual benefits education, advanced yet simple-to-use enrollment technology and quality personal service. Colonial Life offers disability, life and supplemental accident and health insurance policies in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Similar policies, if approved, are underwritten in New York by a Colonial Life affiliate, The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company, Worcester, Mass. Colonial Life is based in Columbia, S.C., and is a subsidiary of Unum Group, one of the world’s leading providers of employee benefits. Colonial Life offers exceptional opportunities to join its expanding sales force of more than 13,000 career agents in one of the fastest growing segments of the insurance industry. The company provides award-winning training that has received national recognition for excellence. For more information about Colonial Life, call the company at (803) 798-7000 or visit www.ColonialLife.com.
   
1 Workforce Management 2012 Employer/Employee survey, May 2012.
2 J. Levin-Scherz, R. Mason and M. Wood, “Boost Employee Health and Wellness with Behavioral Economics,” Towers Watson Viewpoints, 2011.
3 Conducted online for Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company by Harris Interactive among 2,209 U.S. adults, among which 940 are employed full-time/part-time and their employers offer a benefits package, June 28-July 2, 2012.
4 Colonial Life Benefits Post-enrollment Survey, July 2012.

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