What You Need to Know
- Videos can help replicate the booth experience.
- An online fair can be more convenient than the traditional kind.
- A live chat or online helpdesk can give employees a way to ask questions.
In recent years, online benefit enrollment platforms have gradually gained in popularity. During the pandemic, however, we experienced a momentous shift in adoption rates, caused strictly by the need for social distancing. As many within the workforce continue to work remotely, human resources managers, guided by their benefit advisors, are rethinking their approach to open enrollment and employees benefit fairs.
When coronavirus was classified as a pandemic on March 11, 2020, social distancing restrictions mandated we get creative. By the end of August 2020, my own firm introduced a one-stop, free online benefit fair platform where clients’ members could access benefit information, review frequently asked questions, find nearby providers, and download a free mobile app.
Here’s what online benefit fairs can offer.
An online employee benefit fair is a virtual event designed to communicate benefits information to employees through a digital environment rather than the in-person experience. Online fairs typically utilize interactive tools such as webinars, virtual booths, live chats, or recorded videos.
When designing our free online benefit fair platform, we wanted to replicate the experience of an in-person fair by providing our clients, their members, and brokers with such materials as: an audio recording welcoming visitors as they enter the virtual ‘booth;’ benefit summary brochures; a provider search tool; links to download a mobile app; a video introducing the member’s vision benefit program; and even the ability to foster member engagement through a customized plan sponsor-approved raffle.
In creating this platform, a solution to a short-term problem became a long-term benefit for benefits pros and their plan sponsor clientele.
Get benefits information anywhere, anytime.
One of the greatest advantages of a virtual benefit fair is convenience. It allows members to access information about their benefits anywhere, anytime. While the personal touch of an in-person event is generally preferred, finding a time during the workday when all employees can attend is inevitably a challenge, particularly for fast-paced businesses or those with team members who travel for their jobs. If employees are off or out in the field on the day of the benefit fair, they miss out.
In contrast, a virtual benefit fair is flexible and can accommodate every employee’s schedule: it’s available round-the-clock and is on-demand to anyone in the company, whether they are working in the office, offsite, or odd hours. This eases the scheduling burden particularly for parents juggling virtual learning and remote work as well as overseas employees working different hours in different time zones.
Ensure that employees make the most out of their benefits.
During open enrollment, employees usually receive a lot of paperwork and attend several presentations from benefits administrators in a short period of time. The information shared can often be hard to digest and understand. If employees do not understand their options, how can they make an educated choice? Having all the information housed on an online platform gives employees a consistent benefits resource center and allows them to learn about their benefit options at their own pace.