Retaining top talent is a major focus for all organizations and it is undeniable that benefits play a key role in these efforts. In fact, an Aflac Workforces Report notes that “workers who are extremely or very satisfied with their benefits program are 6 times more likely to stay with their employer compared to workers who are dissatisfied with their benefits program.” Many competitive organizations already offer robust benefit packages; however, far too many employees are unaware of the comprehensive nature of their benefits and do not utilize them effectively. HR can combat this disconnect by providing ongoing, effective benefit communication and education.

Unfortunately most traditional benefit communication strategies fail. With the amount of money being spent on benefits and the amount of time HR professionals dedicate to communicating these benefits, it is unacceptable that employees are not highly engaged with their benefits.

Employers believe that with comprehensive orientations and repetitive print and electronic communication they can adequately communicate information on their benefits package. However, statistics show that this is not the case. The ADP Research Institute reports that “80% of HR decision-makers believe it is important for employees to fully understand their benefit options, yet they estimate only about 60% of their own employees do.”

So the question is: How can benefits be communicated effectively? The answer lies in mobile technology.

With nearly two-thirds of Americans owning a smart phone, mobile devices have become a “key entry point to the online world,” according to 2015 research from Pew Research Center. In fact, mobile devices have become increasingly prevalent – a 2016 Fluent Study showed that 78% of interactions occurred on mobile devices. In addition, a large percentage of the workforce is now and will continue to be made up of millennials who overwhelmingly prefer to use mobile apps to interact and obtain information.

Today’s way of connecting and communicating anything is through mobile technology and benefits should be no exception. A recent SHRM article found that mobile apps help busy HR professionals with recruiting, performance, time and attendance, and analytics. And Prudential found that nearly a quarter of employees prefer to use their mobile device to access their benefits.

Just how prevalent is the need for a benefits mobile app? A recent MetLife study found that a “desire for mobile communications among employees” for benefit information is on the rise. This “mobile movement” finds employees being increasingly interested in a mobile application for managing benefits, benefits enrollment information, and benefits education.

In addition, over half of these same employees indicated that they “need more help understanding how their benefits work or how benefits meet their needs” and almost half of these employees indicated that they “did not believe they used their benefits effectively.” These stats make it clear that using a mobile app for benefit functions is a must to help employees both understand and use their benefits appropriately.

A comprehensive mobile app is also a powerful benefit engagement tool because it is available 24/7, not just during enrollment periods. This is incredibly important for moving toward a value-added year-round benefit communication and education strategy. A comprehensive benefit mobile app will also help communicate with employees during particular life events or life stages, such a marriage, divorce, illness, the birth of a child, buying a home, or even planning a vacation. This is important as studies show that nearly 63% of employees are very interested in “being notified of benefit changes or options at the time of a life event.” The bottom line is that today’s employees need a mobile app that they can access anytime and anywhere.

The simple truth is that with the number of mobile devices now outnumbering desktops and laptops, a mobile app designed specifically for benefit functions is a must. Maximize your retention efforts by improving benefit engagement with one simple app. People want to connect to their benefits via their mobile phone; if the information and resources are not available there, they will miss it, and benefit communication will be largely ineffective.

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