- Two-thirds of workers surveyed by employee benefits provider Unum said they plan to pay more attention and spend more time reviewing their choices during open enrollment this year. Unum polled 1,500 full-time U.S. workers in August.
- Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they will enroll in benefits they did not have last year. The uptick may be due to greater awareness; two-thirds of workers said they are more interested or aware of the choices their employers provide.
- Concern over finances and mental health will drive workers' choices, Unum's findings indicated.
Employers will likely be encouraged by Unum's finding that workers plan to spend more time on benefits. Three years ago, Unum research revealed employees spend fewer than 30 minutes preparing for open enrollment. A 2019 report from PlanSource, a benefits administration technology firm, clocked employees' open enrollment time at 18 minutes.
Employers have tried in years past to encourage employees to spend more time selecting their benefits. Many amped up communication in an attempt to boost engagement. Employers finally have employees' attention, but that's most likely thanks to the pandemic and its implications for workers' health and finances.
"Choosing your benefits is one of the most important financial decisions you'll make this year," Unum Global Total Rewards VP Rob Hecker said in a press release. "The ongoing pandemic reminds us of the need to be prepared. You can protect you and your family's financial future with the right benefits."
Employers may not want to forget the strategies they implemented when workers weren't paying as much attention. With many employers operating in a hybrid environment or dealing with ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, it remains important to go heavy on the communication, and spread benefits messaging across channels. As one benefits professional quipped last year during the first pandemic open enrollment season: "posters aren't going to cut it."