AON BENEFITS & TRENDS SURVEY SAYS NEW TECHNOLOGY WILL PLAY A ROLE IN BENEFITS COMMUNICATIONS

  • A third of employers say new technology, including augmented reality will feature in communicating benefits
  • 82% of respondents say engaging employees remains the most important objective of an online or flexible benefits strategy
  • The proportion of employers willing to invest to improve their communications has risen to 42%

Aon Employee Benefits, the UK health and benefits business of Aon plc (NYSE:AON), has said that its Benefits and Trends Survey 2018 showed that 32% of employers believe new technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality, will play a part in benefits communications. While 36% of the respondents were not sure and 18% said they did not know enough to make a judgement, only 13% of those surveyed said these technologies would not be useful for benefits communication and employee engagement.

Engaging employees remains the most important objective of an online or flexible benefits strategy for 82% of employers. Retention and providing employee choice are also priorities, at 71% and 65% respectively. In joint fourth place, are diversity/multigenerational reasons, as well as aligning benefits with an employer value proposition at 55%.

Jerry Edmondson, strategic communications and engagement proposition leader of Aon Employee Benefits, said:

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“Typically, the employee benefits world has lagged several years behind the marketing world in adopting new engagement technology. However, as employee expectations and technology evolves, we’re seeing artificial intelligence chatbots answering HR queries, personalised motion graphics on pension statements, user-generated content promoting flexible benefits platforms and augmented reality apps supporting total reward statements. In particular, augmented reality is ready to boom in marketing generally, because digital information is laid on top of a viewer’s actual environment and that capability is now available in most smartphones.”

Edmondson also said that the most popular channel for communicating benefits is still email, used by 95% of respondents, while there have been downturns in the use of face-to-face communications (53% to 45%) and manager cascade (40% to 28%) from the previous survey which could be detrimental to employees understanding of their benefits.

The report also showed that the proportion of employers saying they would be willing to invest to improve their communications has risen to 42% from 36%.

Edmondson explained:

“New technology may have a part to play in investment as benefits teams look to keep pace with consumer experiences by executing a more digital, segmented and smarter plan in 2018. Indeed, the survey showed that companies want benefits advisers to do more to help with communications strategy, helping them to embed it into a year-round, integrated strategy, in order to reduce waste on disjointed, ad hoc communications.”

Aon Employee Benefits will be discussing Augmented Reality at Employee Benefits Connect 2018, 28 February 2018, London.

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