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Netflix engages with you on a personal level. Shouldn’t you do the same with your employees?


As we discussed in the first installment of this three-part blog series, the term “omni-channel” is a marketing approach used to deliver an integrated and cohesive customer experience. If you did any shopping last weekend, you probably experienced it first-hand.

Your loyalty card tallied up your rewards with one quick swipe. Your online portal was instantly populated with your purchase history, just in case you want to return something. Or perhaps you couldn’t find your size on the rack, so you ordered it online. You soon got an email with your delivery tracking number, and it’s only a matter of time before you get a text message alerting you to a flash sale featuring your favorite items.

Wow, that retailer really knows you!  

To reproduce those same feelings of familiarity among your employees, you simply need to apply the same omni-channel approach to benefits engagement. The more integrated, cohesive, and personal their benefits experience is, the more engaged and loyal they become.

And, it’s sort of expected these days. In fact:

Last time, we talked about the first component of an omni-channel benefits experience: content—the information your employees want. But even the best content can fall on deaf ears when it’s not delivered in the right way. You’ve got to make it personal.

Omni-channel benefits experience component #2: personalization

While benefits aren’t always top of mind for most people, your employees count on you to deliver the right benefits in the right place at the right time. When that doesn’t happen, the situation can become personal very quickly: a mother with a sick child at the doctor’s office and an expired ID card; a COBRA payment that was never received; a flexible spending account (FSA) balance that’s not consistent from desktop to mobile app. Any one of these unsatisfactory experiences has a very personal impact.

Benefits. Are. Personal.

Because benefits are so personal in nature, it’s important to deliver them in the most personalized way possible. Technology can help, but HR professionals—those who put the “human” in human resources—are a vital part of the equation. And when it comes to benefits communication, your strategy and delivery can mean the difference between an employee feeling they’re truly being taken care of and feeling like they’re “just a number.”

To ensure your benefits delivery is personal and on par with your employees’ other experiences (e.g., online banking, ride sharing and Netflix), here are a couple tips.

Use your data like a marketer.

To ensure messages are relevant, today’s HR pros must think like marketers—the professionals who develop and deploy targeted strategies across the right channels to get attention and encourage consumers to buy. These strategies are built on data about previous behavior and interactions. By thinking like a marketer, you can apply the same approach using the data in your benefits administration system and other HR tools. This will allow you to deliver, with laser-like precision, specific and relevant messages to your employees. This data might include:

  • Enrollment questionnaire responses
  • Plan enrollment details
  • Demographics
  • Dependent enrollment information
  • Voluntary program participation

Consider life stages.

One of the easiest ways to segment your outreach is to structure it by life stage, using employee demographics and other data. This lets your employees know you understand the varying needs of your workforce, and it’s a great demonstration of workplace empathy—an increasingly important driver of business success. Here are some scenarios that may resonate with specific life-stage segments:

  • Your wellness coordinator wants to launch a campaign to promote colorectal cancer screening. Mail flyers to all employees over age 50, with a reminder that the procedure is covered at 100% as in-network preventive care.
  • You’re changing pet insurance carriers next year. Communicate only to employees who are currently enrolled in that coverage.
  • Your HRIS tells you that an employee has started maternity leave. Send her a handwritten note with a reminder to enroll her newborn in coverage within 31 days of birth.

For more tips like these and to learn how to apply omni-channel marketing techniques to your HR communications efforts, check out Three Components of an Omni-Channel Benefits Experience.

Want the last piece of the puzzle? Check out part III here

3 components of a successful omni-channel experience

View all Posts by Mike Shepherd