ADOTAS — The Affordable Care Act rollout appeared to turn a corner in early January when the U.S. government announced that 2.1 million Americans had signed up for health insurance on Healthcare.gov. However, that number still fell short of the administration’s pre-rollout projection of 3.3 million enrollees by the end of December, and the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that nearly half of the public still views the law unfavorably. That percentage remained unchanged from the previous poll, despite a retooled website and the administration’s PR campaign to avert attention from initial rollout failures.
There is a lesson for brands here. A bad experience with the technology that represents your organization can cause lasting damage to your reputation. As with the Affordable Care Act, companies can often struggle with providing technically sound and engaging employee benefits enrollment and internal communication technology. In today’s online driven world, the ability for brands to leverage robust internal technology platforms to communicate consistent brand messages and inspire confidence among their employees can mean the difference between creating brand ambassadors and brand detractors.
Many of the most innovative companies today, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, are integrating technology to help manage the benefits administration, enrollment and employee communication process. Let’s take a closer look at why robust technology is so important and how good technology can positively impact your internal branding efforts.
Benefits administration is inherently complex. It often involves some degree of manual administration, multiple procedures and many different benefits processes varying both from benefit to benefit and, for multinational companies, from country to country. Administrators have to deal with internal systems (HRIS, Payroll), external systems (vendor portals, tax portals) and local systems (intranets, shared folders). So it’s unsurprising that there can be confusion, repetition and mismanagement involved. Organizations must keep in mind what specifications are required for their particular business structure and make sure any technology they implement integrates with and supports that structure. A disjointed, clunky benefits enrollment process will turn off employees and leave them with a poor perception of your business.
Good technology also enables organizations to implement more complex types of benefits including co-pay or flexible benefit arrangements that drive engagement and/or manage costs.
More meaningful communication
When it comes to employee benefits, one size does not fit all. The same can be said for employee communication. Employees need different things from their benefits at different stages in their lives. From claiming on a policy to adding a new dependent, interaction with their benefits is ongoing throughout their careers. Benefits management software can automate employee profiles and assist employees with benefit selection. It can provide employees with an intuitive user-interface that utilizes intelligent notifications of required actions, so they don’t miss out on opportunities. Additionally, companies can use automation technologies to identify employee status updates —address changes, new job titles, or family changes — and automatically generate personalized messages for required actions and benefits selection. This can all be achieved using consistent branding and messages to reinforce employee engagement with the organization.
Improved user experience
According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, there will be more than 10 billion mobile-connected devices by 2017. So it’s no surprise that employees increasingly expect to be able to access work-related content and processes from these devices.
Good technology can facilitate tablet and/or smartphone optimized employee-self-service and intranet platforms that incorporate everything from email to text message to online video guides. Individuals can choose their communication method and receive automated messages based on that preference.
An engaging platform that employees can access anytime and anywhere can help reinforce employee interaction, participation and engagement with their total reward packages and with your brand. Additionally, using cloud-based technology solutions, which are easily integrated, can enhance the employee user experience with ability to move between self-service applications seamlessly — without even noticing the use of multiple software solutions.
Employees want to feel connected to their organization and its culture — whether they work from company headquarters, in an international office or from home. Businesses seeking to engage these workers must clearly communicate the company’s core-culture and offer efficient and well-designed tools to access corporate communications and employee self-service applications. Instantly identifiable and values-led reward brands are help demonstrate an organization’s commitment to their employees.
The challenge facing many businesses today is in creating a unified global approach. A global benefits administration platform can offer the ability to control the global reward message and offer a consistent experience for internationally located employees. Whether enrolling in 401k in the US, the provident fund in India or auto-enrolling into a pension program in the UK, the employee journey, branding and messaging remains consistent. Local language and currency support offered through global benefits management platforms means that consistency doesn’t have to come with additional work for the HR and benefits team.
At the end of the day, employees often view the technology they use at work as a barometer for their company’s relevance and innovativeness. When employees are excited about the office technology and communications they receive every day, it inspires confidence in your brand. That’s why Glassdoor’s most recent 50 Best Places to Work list included 15 Silicon Valley companies, with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook all in the top five. Workplace technology that is perceived as cool and cutting edge among your employees will help position your brand as an industry leader that invests in its employees. Recent events have proven that when technology fails, users are unforgiving. But well-designed, engaging technology can create just as much of a lasting impression for your brand.