When Shaw Communications Inc. (Shaw) partnered with Morneau Shepell to design a new health benefits plan for over 12,000 non-union employees — one that would provide choice over traditional benefits — it realized that rolling out the plan would require an innovative approach.
Given Shaw’s widespread, tech-savvy workforce, traditional methods of in-person and print communication would not cut it for the new “CHOICES” program. Moreover, Shaw was keen to go beyond providing basic information and administration; it wanted employees to gain a better understanding of the new plan, become more aware of their own health needs, and actively participate in making informed benefit selections.
Shaw became the first client to utilize Morneau Shepell’s Integrated Portal for annual enrollment as well as for ongoing support, education, and delivery of the new CHOICES benefits program. The Integrated Portal — Shawbenefits.ca — is the result of in-depth research conducted to optimize the self-service experience. It takes an employee-centric focus with user-friendly, intuitive navigation to match employee needs with the right HR programs. Comprehensive decision-support and transactional tools ensure that employees receive greater value and improve the effectiveness of an organization’s programs. Another key benefit of the Integrated Portal is that employees access one website to obtain an integrated view of the employer’s programs based on the issues and topics relevant to them at a given point in time, maximizing awareness of and engagement in an employer’s HR programs.
Shaw and Morneau Shepell also considered how they could support employees when they went to the Integrated Portal to enroll. The first step was to ask employees to complete an online Health Risk Assessment (HRA), for which they would receive additional plan credits. The objective was to create a culture of health awareness that was directly associated with the new CHOICES benefits program. Shaw also plans to use the HRA results to assess workforce health risks and design a wellness program to reduce those risks.
To engage employees in learning about the new plan on their own time, the CHOICES communication campaign included the development of a responsive transition website (see image above), accessible on mobile devices and traditional browsers. The website included a series of tiles outlining components of the new plan, videos, and tutorials, coupled with social commentary from the perspective of featured employees (personal profiles) to demonstrate how the plan could best fit different life situations. A push campaign was used to feature each tile over the eight weeks leading up to enrollment, giving employees bite-size information about the new plan and “things to consider” so employees were able to chose the most appropriate option for themselves and their families.
Finally, employees were off ered additional support when enrolling in the plan through an online decision support tool that suggested the best CHOICE for each selection based on anticipated program usage. By entering expected health and dental expenses for their dependants and themselves, employees gained a better understanding of the coverage available and the associated cost, in order to make appropriate benefit selections.
Shaw monitored access to the CHOICES transition website during the education campaign and found that the website received 45,000 total visits, representing almost four visits per person. Confirmation that the right messages were reaching people was evident by monitoring what employees were looking at within the website — an outcome that would not have been possible with traditional print communication. The online, interactive approach to introducing the new CHOICES benefits plan helped to engage and educate employees in a unique way. Furthermore, the transition website and Integrated Portal helped employees make informed benefit decisions so they could truly find value in the customizable CHOICES plan upon enrollment in November 2012.
Shaw’s next steps are to roll out Morneau Shepell’s MyPlans Connect mobile app to better connect employees to their benefits anytime and anywhere. Shaw will also use the HRA data from Shawbenefits.ca to design and introduce wellness initiatives targeted at the health issues its workforce is actually experiencing. Now that employees are familiar with the portal, Shaw, along with Morneau Shepell, are looking at ways to maximize its usage. The goal is to ensure employees understand the full range of their total rewards package and appreciate its value.
“Partnering with Morneau Shepell enabled us to take advantage of both in-depth benefits knowledge and the latest technology. As a result, we have more informed and engaged employees who understand use, and appreciate their benefits.”
Director, HR Shared Services at Shaw Communications Inc.
Shaw saw the following very positive results:
93% of employees completed the HRA
97% of employees went through the first online enrollment process
- Benefits administration: 80% of Shaw employees felt the Integrated Portal (Shawbenefits.ca) was valuable in providing one centralized location to access benefits information;
- Transition communication: 86% of employees felt that Shaw provided enough information to make informed decisions about the new CHOICES benefits plan;
- Employee engagement: Increased awareness of the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP, also provided by Morneau Shepell), as employees with key risks identified in the HRA were directed to interventions available through the EFAP; and
- Financial/ROI: Supportive decision making so that employees select benefits that meet their needs.