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.
Equally important as offering employees the right amount of resources is giving them three weeks or more to review their benefits choices and information before making a decision.Those who had three or more weeks to review benefits materials prior to the close of enrollment were significantly more likely to rate their benefits and their benefits education as excellent or very good, compared to those with less than three weeks to enroll. The research shows that 96 percent of employees who had three-plus weeks to review their benefits education materials said it was enough time—but only 48 percent of respondents were given that much time. An effective benefits education strategy can enhance employees’ appreciation of their benefits, the research shows. Eighty-one percent of employees with an excellent/very good benefits education rated their employee benefits package as excellent or very good. Conversely, only 27 percent of employees who rated their benefits education as fair/poor said their employee benefits package was excellent or very good. About Unum Unum ( www.unum.com) is one of the leading providers of employee benefits products and services in the United States and the United Kingdom. Through its subsidiaries, Unum Group paid approximately $6 billion in total benefits to customers in 2011. Harris Interactive Survey Methodology The 2011 survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Unum from December 16-20, 2011 among a total of 3,339 adults 18 and older, 1,820 of whom are employed full- or part-time and 1,147 of whom were asked to review their employee benefits in the past year. The 2008 survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Unum from December 9-11, 2008 among a total of 2,137 adults 18 and older, 1,122 of whom are employed full- or part-time and 659 of whom were asked to review their employee benefits in the past year. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Brian Baker at (423) 294-7839.
About Harris InteractiveHarris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. www.harrisinteractive.com.