2021: Employee Benefits Reimagined

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Over the past few decades, technology has radically changed how we work. Think about how email has transformed the way we communicate since its wide-spread adoption in the 90s. Or the gradual introduction of the World Wide Web, the Cloud, and Google and Apple products into every facet of our work lives.

Flash forward to summer 2021: As the pandemic enters a more stable period, many employers and employees alike have grown to embrace the remote work model with plans to stay remote for the foreseeable future. According to a Gartner study, remote workers will represent 32% of all employees worldwide by the end of 2021.1 So, what does it mean for HR professionals when one out of three workers is remote?

It means that technology will play an even greater role in connecting employees with their benefits. It’s a shift we have seen as new benefit solutions emerge to help engage and educate while optimizing employee and employer communication. Even traditional events like open enrollment have transitioned from packing people into a conference room for an hour of their workday to simply inviting them to log into Zoom from their couch or home office. Conferencing platforms were a decent stopgap measure as the pandemic began, but there is far better employee benefit technology available that you can be leveraging. And whether you have braced it or not, these solutions are here to stay. These solutions also have the potential to make your job easier and your company more profitable.

Technology is part of every role today

While some human resource professionals may never have dreamt of being fully immersed in technology, the pace toward digital transformation only quickens, with organizations that adapt faster finding more opportunities to serve their employees. At Innovo, we have anticipated the change and have worked to bring our clients up to speed as efficiently as possible. By partnering with leading technology vendors, we can give small and medium-sized businesses access to tools that were recently only available to Fortune 500 companies. Some of the tools improve on tried-and-true processes, like virtual employee education and open enrollment meetings. Some are gamechangers, like AI-powered decision-making tools that can show each employee real-world benefit costs specific to their situation. All the tools we offer simplify Benefits Professionals’ jobs.

Here are two of our clients’ favorite innovations:

Benefit Fair Technology

Before March 2020, benefits fairs for the most part included vendor tables, knick-knacks, and most importantly, benefits education. This system worked well if your employees were all in a shared physical location, able to meet in person without the need for social distancing, and available when the event was scheduled. Now imagine being able to offer an even better experience to all your employees whether they are in a single location, remote or distributed across states and time zones.

This is not a glorified Zoom presentation, but a virtual benefits fair that gives employees control over what they learn and how. The platform we use is intuitive, with interactive benefit tiles that employees tap to “visit” vendor booths. It’s fun, engaging and informative. There are opportunities to earn prizes based on engagement level. Most importantly, it provides personalized attention to each employee without requiring time or effort from busy Benefits Administrators.

Employee Benefits Decision Support

What is the most challenging aspect of open enrollment for your employees? Understanding which plan options to choose. The issue is that employees want to make smart decisions, without jeopardizing adequate health coverage or spending more per month than they must. Even if you or another member of your company’s HR team could sit down with each employee to review their individual situation to assess the pros and cons of multiple plans, “doing the math” would be incredibly difficult as you’d have to plot out many, many scenarios.

The solution is an AI-powered decision-making tool that employees can walk through at their own pace, entering their actual family health details and preferences. Instantly, they can see what their costs would be during a normal year and when variables like worst-case scenarios are introduced. Don’t confuse this with a benefits administration platform that just shares plan options – this is a powerful tool that helps get employees through open enrollment quicker and with more confidence. Some tools, like the one we offer clients, are designed with gamification in mind to increase engagement and motivation to complete their selection on time.

The hidden value of digital HR transformation

As employers look for advantages in recruitment and retention, offering tools that help employees make smarter benefits decisions is a valuable differentiator. As such, HR tech strengthens your brand, and brings you closer to business goals of helping employees work more efficiently.  

Over time as benefit technologies become increasingly prevalent, employers will have no choice but to adapt or be left behind. That’s the main takeaway – digital transformation is inevitable. But the other take-aways are that these technologies are not cost prohibitive, nor are they overly complex to use. We look forward to bringing them to our current and future clients to not only enhance their employee benefit packages, but also position them for success in our ever-changing world.

Do you have any questions on how we can help you and your team get started with time-saving solutions? We would love to hear from you – email or call us:



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