Aon Consulting PEO Survey. Communicating with Worksite Employees

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Communicating with Worksite Employees

2010 PEO Survey

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Contents

Overview

Key Findings

Call to Action

Data

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2010 PEO Survey

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In April-May 2010, Aon Consulting conducted a survey of Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) through LinkedIn and the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations. A total of 69 PEOs completed the 14-question survey.

The majority of PEOs (65.2%) serve more than 100 employer clients. In terms of size, 89.8% of PEOs have clients with an average of fewer than 50 employees, with the majority (56.5%) serving clients in the 10-25 employee range.

The findings show that employers use a mix of print and electronic communications for their HR and benefits information and open enrollment communications. When PEOs communicate with worksite employees about HR and benefits issues, they more commonly use electronic distribution rather than print. Of respondents, 75.4% use either entirely electronic or e-delivery at least half of the time. However, for annual open enrollment, 20.3% use online enrollment for their employee communications and/or for processing elections.

For HR benefits information, 37.7% use a majority of electronic communications and some print communications, followed by half electronic/half print communications (29%). Another 8.7% use all electronic communications.

Overview

Key Findings

Mix of Print and Electronic

for Communicating

with Worksite Employees

HR Benefits Information

All Print

2.9%

All Electronic (online and/or email)

8.7%

Majority Electronic, Some Print

37.7%

Half Electronic, Half Print

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2010 PEO Survey | Communicating with Worksite Employees In terms of open enrollment communications and processing employee elections, 31.9% of respondents mail worksite employees a printed instruction guide, highlights, and/or personalized worksheet. (Employees then return completed forms for processing or call a service center to make their elections.) The second most popular method is providing materials to client employers, who in turn distribute them to employees (21.7%). In all, 79.7% use some type of print materials as a component of their open enrollment communications.

Open Enrollment Communications

Mail printed instruction guide, highlights, and/or personalized worksheet. Employees fill out forms and return for processing or call service center to make elections.

31.9%

Mail a printed instruction guide, highlights, and/or personalized worksheet for planning. Employees go online to our enrollment site to submit their elections.

10.1%

Mail a printed generic enrollment announcement. Employees go online to our enrollment site to read instructions and submit their elections.

15.9%

Email a notice containing enrollment instructions. Employees go online to submit their elections at our enrollment site.

20.3%

Enrollment materials are provided to client employers and they distribute them to their employees.

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Employers cited a number of changes they would make to their communications strategies to help their business be more efficient and competitive.

n 52.2% would opt for providing streamlined communications that are

more concise and easy to understand

n 20.3% would use more personalized information and fewer

generic communications

n 17.4% would communicate more frequently on key topics like wellness

or retirement planning

PEOs expressed a desire to move away from print communication with their worksite employees. The majority (63.8%) plan to eliminate paper-based communications some time within the next five years. Of those, 26.1% are committed to online/electronic communication in 2010. In addition, another 17.4% have already gone paperless, while 18.8% have no plans to eliminate print in the future.

Going paperless appeared to be motivated by a desire to control expenses (58%). Another 50.9% said it is easier and more cost-effective to update electronic information than printed materials.

Employers have strong reasons for keeping print communications but also state challenges for continuing to use them. Many have resolved to stay with print communication for their open enrollment communications.

The top two reasons cited for keeping some component of print communication:

n 64.6% note that worksite employees don’t have regular online access n 21.4% say that clients (or their employees) are more comfortable with print

The top two challenges cited for providing print communications are:

n 48.4% say that print is costly to produce and distribute

n 30.6% say that materials become obsolete quickly and have to be replaced

Mix of Change Strategies to

Improve Communications

The Move to

Electronic Communications

Pros and Cons of

Print Communications

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2010 PEO Survey | Communicating with Worksite Employees Of respondents, 53.6% do all of their worksite communications in-house. Of those who outsource some components of their worksite communications, they most commonly outsource print production and fulfillment (37.7%) and content development (14.5%), followed by online enrollment (10.1%).

The use of social media is mixed among respondents. Currently 37.7% of respondents use some social media/Web 2.0 tools and plan to expand their use in the future, while another 27.5% do not use social media tools and have no plans to do so. Of those using social media tools, LinkedIn is the top tool (42%), followed by Facebook (36.2%).

The Role of Outsourcing

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Communications need to be fully integrated into the PEO’s business process. This includes allowing adequate preparation time, crafting the materials, scheduling communication distribution events, and establishing effective methods for delivery. These are the missing links.

How organizations communicate with participants reflects on both their brand and business image. Communications to clients and worksite employees are the recognizable “face” of the PEO. They help set the tone of the work experience and leave a lasting impression. Accordingly, the quality of the communications should match the quality of the services provided.

PEOs expressed concerns about the overall accuracy of their printed materials. They believe that having more streamlined communications would give them a competitive advantage. When employees receive large quantities of generic information, they must spend time and effort to sort through the details they need. Streamlined and/or customized communications are more user-friendly and would allow them to make decisions and take action more quickly.

Social media offers new outlets to support more traditional communication channels. While social media will not take the place of existing methods in the short run, these tools can be leveraged to reinforce messages to employees. For example, PEOs can use social media to remind employees that open enrollment is under way or alert them to check their emails for timely information.

For the time being, employers will keep a mix of print and electronic communications. We don’t expect that to change any time soon. The goal will be for PEOs to find ways to keep production costs down and improve accuracy.

One of the top challenges in providing print communication is “lack of internal resources,” yet 53.6% of PEO respondents do not outsource their communication work. Since print and fulfillment are outside of PEOs’ typical service offerings, niche partnership arrangements are worth exploring to deliver these services. The cost may well turn out to be neutral, and in fact, may ultimately provide cost savings.

With a pre-defined plan and schedule in place, and high-quality materials ready in advance, PEOs can ensure cost-effective, quality results with a minimum of time and effort, while improving overall branding.

Call to Action

For more information, please contact:

Robyn Costello

+1. 410.363.5546 robyn.costello@aon.com.

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How many employer clients

do you serve?

Employer Clients Response Percent

Fewer than 25 13.0% Between 25 and 50 11.6% Between 50 and 100 10.1% Between 100 and 500 39.1% More than 500 26.1%

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What is the average number

of worksite employees

per client that you serve?

Average Number of Worksite Employees per Client

Response Percent

Fewer than 10 employees 7.2% Between 10 and 25 employees 56.5% Between 26 and 50 employees 26.1% Between 51 and 100 employees 5.8% More than 100 employees 4.3%

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How do you provide HR

and benefits information

to worksite employees?

Information Provided Response Percent

All electronic (online and/or email) 8.7% Majority electronic, some print 37.7% Half electronic, half print 29.0% Majority print and some electronic 21.7% All print 2.9%

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2010 PEO Survey | Communicating with Worksite Employees

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How do you handle

annual open enrollment

communication and

processing employee

elections? Please

indicate the method you

use most commonly.

Method Most Commonly Used Response Percent

Mail printed instruction guide, highlights, and/or personalized worksheet. Employees fill out forms and return for processing or call service center to make elections.

31.9%

Mail a printed instruction guide, highlights, and/or personalized worksheet for planning. Employees go online to our enrollment site to submit their elections.

10.1%

Mail a printed generic enrollment announcement. Employees go online to our enrollment site to read

instructions and submit their elections.

15.9% Email a notice containing enrollment

instructions. Employees go online to submit their elections at our enrollment site.

20.3% Enrollment materials are provided

to client employers and they distribute them to their employees.

21.7%

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What are your plans to

go paperless with your

communications

to worksite employees?

Plans Response Percent

All of our communications are already

online or electronic. 17.4% We are moving all communications to

online/electronic in 2010. 26.1% We plan to go paperless in the next

3-5 years. 37.7% We plan to go paperless in more than

5 years. 0.0% We have no plans to eliminate print

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If your organization uses

paperless communications

or if you are considering

paperless, why? Please rank

your top 3 reasons,

1 being most important,

or choose N/A.

Reasons

1 2 3 N/A

Reduce expenses. 58.0% 18.0% 18.0% 6.0%

Good for the environment, or supports an organizational initiative for going green.

21.4% 23.8% 35.7% 19.0%

Client employers have requested

paperless communications. 17.4% 19.6% 39.1% 23.9% Easier and more cost effective to update

information than printed materials. 50.9% 26.4% 15.1% 7.5% Requires fewer internal resources

to produce. 31.3% 35.4% 22.9% 10.4%

Less potential for errors in the

information we provide. 36.4% 29.5% 22.7% 11.4% Allows us to distribute information

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2010 PEO Survey | Communicating with Worksite Employees

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If you have converted

your communications to

online/electronic, how

have worksite employees’

behaviors changed?

Behavior Changes Response Percent

We are receiving more calls to our

service center. 2.9% We are receiving fewer calls to our

service center. 10.1% Employees are making fewer

errors when they enroll or provide information back to us.

29.0% Employees are making more

errors when they enroll or provide information back to us.

1.4% No noticeable change one way or

the other. 20.3% We have not converted to online/

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If you are keeping some

component of print

communications, why?

Please rank your top

3 reasons, 1 being most

important, or choose N/A.

Reasons

1 2 3 N/A

Our worksite employees don’t have

regular online access. 64.6% 13.8% 4.6% 16.9%

With print we know employees receive

our messages. 10.9% 21.7% 30.4% 37.0%

Print ensures that employees’ spouses

and families will see the information. 13.0% 28.3% 23.9% 34.8% Our clients (or their employees) are

more comfortable with print. 21.4% 44.6% 16.1% 17.9% Print is cost effective for our purposes. 2.8% 11.1% 33.3% 52.8% Online/electronic communications are

too expensive. 2.9% 8.6% 28.6% 60.0%

Not enough resources to maintain

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2010 PEO Survey | Communicating with Worksite Employees

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If you use print, what

challenges do you face

in providing print

communications in 2010?

Please rank your top

3 reasons, 1 being most

important, or choose N/A.

Reasons

1 2 3 N/A

Lack of internal resources to prepare

the materials. 14.3% 26.5% 32.7% 26.5%

Print is costly to produce and distribute. 48.4% 21.0% 12.9% 17.7%

Materials become obsolete quickly and

have to be replaced. 30.6% 37.1% 11.3% 21.0%

Materials tend to have

accuracy problems. 11.8% 14.7% 32.4% 41.2%

Getting materials out on time. 19.6% 33.3% 27.5% 19.6%

We don’t face any challenges. 12.1% 3.0% 12.1% 72.7%

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How are you using social

media/Web 2.0 to

communicate with worksite

employees? (Twitter,

Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs,

text messaging, etc.)

Social Media and Web 2.0 Usage Response Percent

We currently use some social media/ Web 2.0 tools and plan to expand in the future.

37.7% We currently use some social media/

Web 2.0 tools but have no plans to expand in the future.

10.1% We do not use social media tools

now, but are considering this type of communication for the future.

24.6% We do not use social media tools

now and have no plans to use them in the future.

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If you offer some type of

social media/Web 2.0, please

check the tools you use to

communicate with worksite

employees. Check all

that apply.

Social Media/Web 2.0 Tools Used Response Percent

LinkedIn 42.0% Twitter 27.5% Facebook 36.2% Company-sponsored blogs 29.0% Text messaging 5.8% N/A 46.4%

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Which of the following

statements reflects your

organization’s opinion

on using social media

tools to communicate

with worksite employees?

Choose one.

Opinion Response Percent

Social media tools are an effective way to reach worksite employees in their environment or “on the go.”

14.5% Social media tools are an effective

way to reach worksite employees in addition to other traditional communication channels (such as printed materials).

31.9%

Social media tools are not effective since they do not directly reach dependents.

7.2% Social media tools are not effective

since they are too “frivolous” for our subject matter.

7.2% Our organization has not used social

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2010 PEO Survey | Communicating with Worksite Employees

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What components of

worksite employee

communications do

you outsource?

Check all that apply.

Outsourced Components Response Percent

Content development (writing,

design, technical review, etc.). 14.5% Online enrollment. 10.1% Print production and fulfillment. 37.7% All of our worksite employee

communications are handled by a vendor/partner.

2.9% None of our worksite employee

communications are outsourced; we do it all in house.

53.6%

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What changes to your

worksite communication

strategy or methods do

you think would make your

business more efficient

and competitive in 2010?

Changes Response Percent

Using more personalized information

and fewer generic communications. 20.3% Providing streamlined

communications that are more concise and easy to understand.

52.2% Providing total compensation

statements to worksite employees. 7.2% Using social media tools. 2.9% More frequent communications on

relevant topics such as wellness programs or planning for retirement.

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Aon Consulting’s Benefacts service is based in Owings Mills, Maryland, with more than 60 professionals including communication consultants, project managers and graphic designers. With 45 years of experience, we develop and implement worksite employee communications that meet a broad range of PEO communication needs. We maintain our own state-of-the-art, commercial production and finishing facility. Our own team members, who are experienced in the exacting details and requirements of preparing worksite employee communications, operate this facility. By maintaining this resource in-house, we can ensure your confidentiality, provide quality control, and offer flexible scheduling.

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Aon Consulting

Aon Consulting is among the top global human capital consulting firms, with more than 6,300 professionals in 229 offices worldwide. The firm works with organizations to improve business performance and shape the workplace of the future through employee benefits, talent management and rewards strategies and solutions. Aon Consulting was named the best employee benefit consulting firm by the readers of Business Insurance magazine in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

For more information on Aon Consulting, please visit

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