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Jellyvision Uses Behavioral Science to Educate Employees on Benefits

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Jellyvision develops software that assists employees in selecting health insurance and benefits, as reported in our WorkSpace Connect News Wrap. The company started off making You Don't Know Jack video games and last week launched a mobile app that centralizes benefits information. Employees can use ALEX Connect to access their healthcare plans, ID cards, HSA/FSA and retirement accounts, in-network provider searches, telemedicine and prescription resources, a built-in wellness tracker, and other features.
Kim Balmos, Product Marketing Manager, Jellyvision, recently briefed WorkSpace Connect on the advantages of accessing employee benefits through a mobile platform and how companies are addressing the lack of communication in the benefits space. Balmos also discussed how ALEX Connect uses behavioral science to measurably impact employee choices, the motivation behind the launch of Jellyvision Custom Solutions, and the challenges she looks forward to tackling at Jellyvision.
Responses have been edited for conciseness and clarity.
ALEX Connect gives employees benefits support via a mobile app before, during, and after the enrollment period. Why choose a mobile platform instead of simply letting people go to a website?
KB: For so long, [employers] have sent employees to a website (or benefits guide or PowerPoint deck, or recorded presentation) to access all the benefits information they need. And while it’s a noble attempt, it hasn’t worked: 40% of employees don’t understand the benefits communications they receive, and one-third have never taken action as a result of their employer’s benefits communications.
Why have traditional approaches failed? Because [employers] are not meeting employees where they are. Today’s workforce is inundated with a barrage of messages every day on countless platforms. So throwing another website into the mix isn’t enough to cut through the noise.
That’s why [Jellyvision] created ALEX Connect—to meet employees with the benefits information they need, where we know they’re already spending time. [According to research] Americans check their phones 344 times a day, and 88% of that time is spent using mobile apps. ALEX Connect centralizes benefits information on the platform where employees are most likely to find and use it. And unlike a website, our mobile app uses push notifications and helpful reminders directly from their trusted advisor—ALEX—to continuously engage employees, driving them towards smarter benefits decisions throughout the year.
How do companies lack communication when it comes to the benefits space? How does ALEX Connect address this lack?
KB: It’s not so much that we’re lacking benefits communication. HR teams tell us all the time how many channels they’re using to communicate their benefits: Microsites. Newsletters. Postcards. Live Meetings. Recorded meetings. Social Media. Videos. Texts. The list goes on. There’s no doubt that HR teams are working hard to get the message out.
But what we’re lacking is benefits engagement. So often, we’ve approached benefits communication as a one-and-done task at open enrollment. But the data shows that employees want more benefits educationand once a year isn’t enough to help employees fully understand how their benefits work and guide them towards in-the-moment decisions that will help them stay healthy and save money.
So that’s our aim with ALEX Connect: to meet employees when they’re already at the doctor’s office and need their medical ID cards. To help employees search for a new in-network provider anytime, anywhere and send employees important push notifications throughout the year, reminding them about deadlines and healthcare actions they should be aware of.
Can you explain how ALEX Connect uses behavioral science to have a measurable impact on employee choices?
KB: Behavioral science studies human actions—and how our own biases, lack of knowledge or previous experience can influence our decision-making. And as we’ve discussed, it’s clear that lack of knowledge is a huge problem when it comes to benefits.
As [an established] benefits engagement platform, we’ve collected a decade's worth of data about employee behavior around employee benefits, including where they have the most trouble with comprehension and usage. We use those insights to hone our product’s messaging and user experience, optimizing how employees engage with their benefits over time. These learnings are now informing how we engage employees via ALEX Connect.
In February, Jellyvision launched Jellyvision Custom Solutions, a service that assists HR teams in increasing employee engagement through action-oriented messages during open enrollment and throughout the year. What was the reason for this particular solution? What pain points does this service hope to reduce?
KB: In the last two years, employees have become harder to reach than ever. Email. Zoom. Teams. Calendar reminders. Texts. Slack.
In the meantime, HR teams are overloaded with an ever-growing list of responsibilities: becoming a therapist to struggling employees, serving as a C-suite advisor, keeping up with ever-changing government regulations, and more. HR is inundated with countless tasks, and expecting them to execute impactful engagement strategies is a tall order.
So, HR teams don’t have a lot of time or expertise to optimize their benefits communications—and when they do, employees aren’t getting the memo amidst the barrage of other messages they’re receiving right now. We launched Jellyvision Custom Solutions to serve as a marketing arm for your HR team. We’ll handle every aspect of crafting and delivering benefits communication campaigns, leaning on our decade of best practices to drive greater benefits awareness, understanding, and interactions.
What is one of the challenges you’re most excited to keep addressing at Jellyvision? Why?
KB: In light of The Great Resignation and concerns about increased burnout, employers are working harder than ever to establish and communicate their employer value proposition. They’re answering fundamental questions, like: How do we build a better employer-employee relationship? How do we communicate and uphold our values better? How do we show our workforce that we care about them?
A big part of that employment value proposition is benefits: giving employees access to the resources and perks to keep them happy, healthy, and engaged. But those benefits go to waste if no one understands or uses them: in fact, C-suite leaders say 53% of their healthcare spending is wasted due to employee confusion.
So I’m proud that we’re building a human solution to a human problem: one that not only provides benefits education but listens to employees as much as it talks to them.
Blue-sky time: What doesn’t exist in the benefits space you wish did. Why doesn’t it exist yet?
KB: Diversity and inclusion has become a major focus in the last few years. But there’s still a lot of work to be done when marrying DEI strategies with our benefits strategies. Healthcare equity still hasn’t received the attention it deserves. It’s time for us to ensure that all employees can access affordable, culturally competent healthcare, no matter what that looks like for them. When it comes to benefits, one size does not fit all.
Young employees might be most interested in learning about student loan reimbursement or mental health benefits via text or a mobile app. Meanwhile older employees might prefer email or video explainers to better understand their retirement plans. Some employees may want to know everything about your adoption assistance program or pet insurance, while others might never use those benefits. Plus, every employee has a unique financial situation, which plays into which benefits are right for them.
So, the future of benefits is: a system that provides greater (and more affordable) access to healthcare for all and employers that not only offer a benefits package that’s as diverse as their workforces, but communicate them in a more personalized way so that employees get the benefits guidance they personally need, at the time they need it.