Effective Enrollment

Paper or Digital? Employee Benefit Enrollment Disconnect Could Hurt Employers

When it comes to paper, not everyone’s on the same page

Enrolling in an employee benefits plan can come with a pile of paperwork.

With things like auto insurance, bank statements, and books being readily available through computers and smart phones, wouldn’t you think that employers wanted to do the same with those hefty stacks of enrollment papers?

Unfortunately, not everybody’s on the same page.

Findings in a recent LIMRA report show that employers are not in touch with how their employees want to enroll. LIMRA found that only 38 percent of surveyed employers think that their employees want to use a computer to enroll, while more than a quarter believe that their employees still want to enroll through paper forms.

Give us digital…

A 2015 LIMRA study found instead that 68 percent of employees want to enroll in their benefits online or electronically and only 16 percent want paper enrollment forms. (Chart)

employers are not in touch with how their employees want to enroll

This disconnect hurts employees’ perceptions of their employers. Surveyed employees who preferred online enrollment felt that companies still using paper enrollment were stuck in the past, out of touch with today’s technology, or thought that it would simply be better done electronically.

Looking beyond the benefits enrollment method an employer uses (electronic/online or paper), the study uncovered another disconnect about how employees enroll in their benefits. While 1 in 4 employers automatically re-enroll their employees annually in at least some benefits, less than 10 percent of employees prefer this automated process.

LIMRA’s research demonstrates that many employers are out of touch with the way their employees want to communicate and access information.

Advisors and carriers can use this research to help their clients gain a better understanding of their employees’ preferences. With more and more Millennials entering the workforce, it is likely this disconnect between employers’ paper-centric enrollment mentality and the modern technological approach of their employees will only grow.