How do we engage--truly engage--employees around their benefits and wellness, not just during open enrollment, but throughout the year? 

First, the question of how really to engage employees is timely and highly important. As the employee becomes the benefits decision maker, it's critical that the other stakeholders--employers and insurers--engage the employee in an ongoing dialogue about health and health care. 

Engagement of the employee must result in meaningful, back-and-forth conversation, not merely an employer or insurer monologue. Regardless of how compelling the message or valuable to content, talking at employees is not engagement. 

While engagement can occur face-to-face or online, to be effective, the engagement of the employee must be proactive and guided. This means the engagement cannot rely on the employee's initiative or interest; the employer or insurer must proactively engage the employee and then guide that employee through the entire conversation. 

An excellent example of proactive and guided engagement is mandatory one-on-one educational sessions with a benefits counselor at the workplace as part of a voluntary benefits enrollment. When optional, few employees attend the educational sessions and fewer participate in the voluntary offering. But when the employer mandates the sessions and all employees are guided through a conversation by the benefits counselor, participation usually exceeds expectations. 

It's difficult, and often unpopular, to force employees to attend educational sessions at the workplace, but we have good news. These lessons apply equally to employee engagement online. When employees are required to go through the online enrollment process guided by an avatar, or virtual benefits counselor, participation in the benefit program increases greatly. 

The most successful employee engagement occurs with proactive and guided benefits enrollment. And imagine how a proactive and guided engagement process could drive smarter health care consumerism and healthier lifestyle choices. 

GCG's Veterinary Specialty Practice is led by Brent Rosen and Cory Friedman. With more than 15 years of combined experience, and more than 5 years as AAHA's Preferred Provider for employee benefits, they understand the unique needs of specialty, emergency, and referral veterinary hospitals. 

GCG Financial is a privately held firm with more than 40 years of experience helping employers run meaningful, cost-effective, and efficient employee benefit programs. 

To learn more about a strategy to further engage employees in your benefit program, contact Cory Friedman or Brent Rosen

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