Open Enrollment: Personalized Benefits Expert Preferred

Nearly half of U.S. workers say personalized recommendations would make selection process easier

COLUMBIA, SC. (Nov. 18, 2021) — Another open enrollment season amid the pandemic finds workers stressed about their finances and how to plan for their family’s future, according to new research conducted by Colonial Life’s parent company, Unum. Although, workers plan to spend more time reviewing their options this year compared to last, they prefer to receive personalized recommendations from a benefits expert.

“Benefits education and communication is key for employees to understand and make the most of their benefits,” said Colonial Life’s vice president of Enrollment Market Development, Wendra Johnson. “Our multi-channel approach keeps employees engaged and informed during one of the most important financial decisions they will make this year.”

Colonial Life’s parent company, Unum, surveyed 1,500 full-time U.S. workers in August 2021. Research found new trends due to the pandemic:

  • 46% of workers said talking with a benefits expert would make selecting benefits easier.
  • 2 in 3 workers (64%) plan to pay more attention to their employee benefits and spend more time reviewing and understanding them.
  • Nearly 3 out of 5 workers (57%) report financial stress or hardship.
  • 46% of workers said including their spouse or partner would make decision-making easier.
  • More than 1 in 3 workers (36%) plan to enroll in different benefits this year.

Virtual enrollment

While employers will continue to offer virtual benefits education this year, Colonial Life has more than 10 years’ experience managing virtual enrollments.

“Live video counseling can be highly effective and engaging just like in-person benefits counseling,” said Colonial Life’s assistant vice president of Enrollment Strategy, Kaleb Unverfehrt.

The power of 1-to-1 counseling

No two employees are the same. Everyone’s needs are different, and those needs evolve over time. From babies to senior care, college tuition to retirement planning, life changes — sometimes unexpectedly. Colonial Life benefit counselors use 1-to-1 sessions to get to know employees and help them tailor benefits to meet their needs.

Combat ‘The Great Resignation’ with voluntary benefits

The number of workers looking for a new job has almost doubled since spring. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers pulse survey, 65% of workers are on the hunt for a new job.[1]

More than half of workers (56%) are more likely to stay with their current employer because of the benefits package. And 8 in 10 employers believe the pandemic has made employees more interested in or aware of the benefits the organization offers.[2]

Offering a robust employee benefits package is one of the top ways to attract and retain top talent. As an employer, voluntary benefits show you value your employees.

Understand your benefits better

Download Colonial Life’s Annual Enrollment Guide for an overview of common workplace benefits. You’ll find clear definitions on coverage, tips for evaluating what you may need depending on your unique situation, and information on who pays for these benefits—you, your employer, or a combination.

[1] PwC, “Next in work” U.S. Pulse Survey. August 2021.

[2] Unum. 2021 Employer Benefits Education and Enrollment Survey of 404 U.S. employers. Unum Group. August 2021.