Build a Better Benefits Program with Employee Segmentation

Build a Better Benefits Program with Employee Segmentation. Want to offer a better benefits program to help attract, retain and motivate top talent? Consider employee segmentation, which according to Employee Benefits News (EBN), “can help plan sponsors identify the needs of specific workforce groups with the goal of targeting relevant benefits and services to them.” We know that employees are more satisfied and more engaged when offered benefits they can understand, and that can provide them the compensation, lifestyle, and flexibility they seek. For example, a parent might be really jazzed about an on-site daycare program or a pre-tax savings plan that helps them pay for childcare costs while on the job. On the other hand, a recent college graduate might be interested in student loan repayment options. So how do you design and communicate an effective benefits program with specific options to satisfy a workforce with diverse needs?

Employee Benefits News offers three recommendations:

  1. Get to know what motivates workers. Employee segmentation can help make this happen. EBN cites a 2016 Willis Towers Watson survey that found that employers with customized benefits programs were three times more likely to have a highly-engaged workforce and deliver better financial results than competitors without personalized benefits plans.According to EBN: “As long as the same benefits are universally available across the company, plan sponsors can target different programs to different workforce segments. This can demonstrate to employees that they’re valued and the company is seeking to help meet their needs.”
  2. Customize communication of available benefits for different employee populations. When using segmentation in employee communications, it’s important to tailor the messages to specific target audiences. So if you’re announcing changes to the company benefits program, target those communications based on the benefits employees currently use. EBN gives an example of segmenting employees who use a PPO plan vs. an HMO plan. With segmentation, employers can tailor the message for each plan, and then deliver it to specific employee groups based on whether they are currently enrolled in the PPO or the HMO. In this way, you can provide employees with information that’s specifically relevant to them.Another factor to consider in segmenting employee benefits communications is what stage of life your employees are in. For example, retirement benefits can be customized by age range and progress towards estimated income needs. This helps guide employees to make better decisions based on their specific situation. Same goes for financial wellness programs: younger employees may want to know how to start investing to help them grow their wealth over time, while older employees may be more interested in learning how to maximize their Social Security benefits.
  3. Avoid employee segmentation pitfalls. Keep in mind, as an employer, you can’t exclude employees from benefits programs. So when you’re creating a program designed to reach a target segment, you can’t exclude those outside the segment from participating. If you’re thinking about your communications strategy, though, you can reach segments that might benefit most from a specific program. That said, not everyone in the same segment necessarily desires the same benefits.How do you counteract this? You could survey different segments of your employee population to discover what resonates with them, and design targeted benefits communication programs based on the results. You could also break your employee demographic down by professional roles to help them with career development and other goals beyond making the most of the company’s benefits menu.

    Understanding what your employees need is the first step to providing a better benefits program. Then designing a program around and tailoring the messages for the needs of specific segments of their workforce can help employers optimize their benefits offerings for the “right” employee demographic. In doing so, you can help foster a happier, more dedicated, more productive and engaged workforce. And what employer doesn’t want that?

Robyn Kurdek

Robyn Kurdek

Freelance writer with nearly 2 decades of financial industry experience, with niche expertise in the defined contribution (DC) industry. I also have defined benefit (DB) plan knowledge. I write all types of content for retirement plan participants, sponsors and advisors, including web copy, newsletters, white papers, fact sheets, blog posts, financial wellness articles, and more. "I speak DC."
Robyn Kurdek
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