Bring Your Benefits to Life

By Gene Raymondi, CEO, eni

Gene Raymondi, CEO, eni

In today’s competitive landscape employers must innovate on the compensation packages in order to recruit top talent. As we know, benefits have a strong influence on an employee’s decision to select, join and remain with an employer. It is no longer sufficient to simply offer a robust package with a variety of siloed and ultimately underutilized benefits. To truly attract and retain top talent, especially millennial employees, benefits must respond to the individual employee’s needs.

It may seem difficult to purchase a cost effective benefit package that satisfies all employees at all ages and stages, however, utilizing a benefit administration approach that is backed by life event technology, demonstrates that your benefit package will respond to your employees’ diverse and individual needs. Furthermore, with millennials representing the largest percentage of the workforce, successfully recruiting their demands paying attention to their individual needs and benefit preferences will be worthwhile. Unfortunately, with traditional benefit administration employees become lost in a maze of benefits, resulting in disengagement and a lack of knowledge about how their benefits can meet their everyday needs. Life event technology changes all that by bringing the focus back to the individual and addressing each unique life event by harnessing the power of modern technology.

What is a life event and how do life events relate to benefits? A life event is defined as “any significant step, event, or milestone a person may experience in their life.” Consider all of the life events that employees may experience at any given point in their career–from getting married, to pregnancy, to grief, to finding the right college for their child, all the way up to retirement. Traditionally, even if benefits are consolidated and communicated as one complete package they still are not cross-referenced and matched to employees’ life events. This approach to benefit administration no longer meets employees’ needs, considering that a life event or life interest is the number one reason why employees access and use their benefits.

“Utilizing life event technology is actually a more humane way to connect and engage employees with their benefit plan”

Employees increasingly rely on their benefits to help them with events that arise in their lives. The timing and urgency of each employee’s life event differs, leading to an increasing demand by employees for customized benefits tailored to their unique situations. Life event technology centers employee benefits around a hub of life events, effectively customizing benefits for each employee. According to a 2017 MetLife research study, 74 percent of employees noted they would be “more likely to accept a job with a new employer” if they had the “ability to customize my benefits to meet my needs.” Similarly, 72 percent of employees indicated that having the “ability to customize my benefits to meet my needs” would result in employees being “more loyal to their current employer.”

Unfortunately, this is not how traditional benefit administration is designed. An employee purchasing a home has no guidance on how any of his or her existing benefits can help during the home buying process. Similarly, an employee providing care for an ill family member is provided no information as to how his or her benefits can alleviate the stress of caregiving. Using life event technology, an employee’s life event is the hub around which the employee’s benefits revolve, with each benefit applied to assist with each unique life event.

Let’s take a more in depth look at the two life events mentioned above that many employees experience to see how life event technology works to assist employees:

Purchasing a Home

Buying a home is a significant and often overwhelming time in a person’s life. Fortunately, many employees have a variety of benefits available to support them throughout this process. For example, an employee may choose to access their retirement benefit in order to borrow money against their 401(K) for a down payment. The employee could utilize their Work/Life Benefit for assistance researching home prices, neighborhoods, school districts, moving companies, etc. The employee could also use their financial benefit to learn about mortgage structures, interest rates, rolling property taxes into the mortgage or paying separately, etc. Finally, the employee could access their pre-paid legal benefit to help review closing documents.

Caring for a Loved One with a Serious Illness

Helping a loved one through a serious illness is a stressful and emotional time that often impacts an employee’s overall productivity. There are many benefits that can help with this distressing life event. Of course, if the loved one is a dependent, the employee will be utilizing their Health Insurance frequently. When dealing with a serious illness of a dependent, an employee’s Health Advocacy service would be very helpful with specialist referrals/pre-authorizations/bill mediation/medication information/ etc. If the loved one has a terminal illness, the employee should be reminded to review their life insurance benefit. The employee could also utilize their free legal consultation to assist in developing an estate plan if the diagnosis is terminal. Dealing with the illness of a loved one can be extremely stressful and an employee’s EAP is available to help them handle the situation. Caring for a loved one can also be draining and even start to impact the employee’s own health. By utilizing their wellness benefit the employee can learn relaxation techniques/healthy eating techniques/ quick exercises/etc. to help keep themselves healthy.

As we can see, even the most unlikely benefits can complement one another. With life event technology, employees receive individual guidance about how their benefits can work together to support them during their life events. As a result, employers receive a higher return on investment of their benefit dollars while employees receive a much more effective benefit experience and customized guidance about their individual life needs. Placing the focus on life events draws employees into their benefits enabling them to understand the comprehensive nature of their package and interact with their benefits on a higher level.

Utilizing life event technology is actually a more humane way to connect and engage employees with their benefit plan. Life event technology enables you to provide employees with a comprehensive package regardless of their age and stage and allows you to customize your benefit package to fit your employee demographics.

Stop losing top talent to the competition because they feel they will receive a better compensation package elsewhere. Instead, use life event technology to demonstrate that your benefit package will respond to all of their needs. With this technology, employees are encouraged to utilize their benefits each time they experience a life event. Providing a robust package is no longer enough, it’s time to bring your benefits to life!

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