Based in the Midwest but with offices throughout North America, the company serves more than 50 million members and their families.
Your employees are here. Behind the firewall, visiting your benefits intranet site, several miles from home. Their families—who influence benefits decisions and comprise up to 70% of your total health care costs—are on the other side. Unless you can find a way to break free from IT privacy restrictions, a 30-page enrollment booklet will be the only way your 10,500 other employees can bring your benefits information home to their families.
Such was the case at this pharmacy benefit manager in 2009. Not only did the environmental and financial costs of printing add up each year, but benefits information became outdated almost as soon as the ink dried. “Printing wasn’t aligned with our initiative to be more sensitive to the environment,” a company manager said. “And it was a challenge for us to get relevant information out to decision makers at home.”
The company had always embraced a spirit of innovation, but bringing online benefits information outside the firewall was unfamiliar terrain. “We wanted to investigate social media options,” the company manager said. “But we hadn’t been able to spend a lot of time on it—nor had we found viable options to fit the way we already used our intranet.”
The website Benz Communications created is more than an online substitute for a static enrollment booklet. It serves as a benefits hub for employees and their families throughout the year. Employees no longer passively receive information. They can join in on the conversation through the blog integration. The new content management system means HR staff can update information on the fly, without waiting for production. The site was designed to complement a broader enrollment campaign, which included a few print pieces to support the site launch.
“The website was a big step in the right direction for us,” the manager said. “It was very exciting. We’re dipping our toes into social media. And it was a little miracle, since we needed to implement quickly. I knew we could get it done, but only because we had Benz as our vendor. I had every faith, and Benz never let me down.”
At every step of the way, Benz gave the company the training and support it needed to maintain the system on their own after Benz was gone. “Benz went above and beyond, offering so many articles and information on best practices,” the manager said. “Things that weren’t even on the contract. I was always really impressed. I never had a moment when I felt they weren’t meeting my expectations. I felt like they were part of the team, and they made me feel I was their most important client.”
Technology plus know-how plus a mindset shift is a powerful combination. The response from employees and executives was overwhelming. More than 11,000 people visited the website in the first three months of its launch—the equivalent of 85% of employees—and approximately 43% of visitors were outside the firewall. “Our main goal was to have an engaging, easily navigated site,” she said. “That’s just what we got. This has been very well received within the organization. The impact was exactly what we hoped. A better, more effective way to communicate benefits to our employees.”
The company manager said having a website feels like they are giving their employees more—even though they didn’t add more benefits. “It’s a different way of communicating. It adds so much more than anything in print.”
She expects the dividends of a dynamic, accessible website to increase over time. “It opens up the door for all kinds of interactivity. We see so much potential in enhancing the site to meet the needs of our employees and decision makers at home. We’d also love to update the site to engage prospective employees and new hires in the future.”