Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Joyco Video Production Blog. I'm Andrew Gabbert, and I'm on the phone with Monirah Bacnik, and we are going to talk to you about how to have fun in your employee benefits explanation videos. Welcome, Monirah.
Thank you. Like Andrew said, my name is Monirah, and I've worked in employee benefits communications since 2011 and worked with employers, small and large to incorporate effective communication strategies to really get employees more engaged in their benefits. My passion for benefits videos started when I realized the uprising trend in marketing videos, but I noticed there was a huge gap when it came to video and the employee communications world.
I always like to think outside the box and challenge the status quo, so I opted to bring fun into benefits. My communication strategy is if the average person doesn't understand the message, then it's back to the drawing board. How can we make the information stick? How can we get employees excited?
These are some of the questions I ask when I'm sitting down and creating videos for companies. Some of my videos have received awards, and I've been working with employers across the U.S. and changing the way HR companies think about communicating their benefits programs.
Awesome. Awesome. I love what you said. You said, "If the average person doesn't understand your message, then you've got to go back to the drawing board." I think that is so important. A lot of times, we focus on the message we want to send rather than the message that's being received.
Especially in video production. You cannot ever forget about how people are receiving the message, because if they don't get it, the video's a fail, no matter how high-quality or how much time went into it or how knowledgeable you are. If they don't understand, it failed.
The first topic I want to tackle is, why should businesses explain their benefits through video instead of relying on documents and other forms of media?
Obviously, written documents are important when it comes to insurance, but it shouldn't be the mainstream of communication when companies are trying to explain and educate their employees on their benefits package. It's really easy for people to get overwhelmed with insurance documents because of the language, the wordiness, and It's boring. As a company, you should look at your benefits package as a selling point to employees because today, it's not uncommon for employees to jump around from job to job, and your benefits package can be one of your selling elements, or your bread and butter.
Companies spend a lot of money on benefits, so why not communicate that? Educate employees on their benefits in a way that they'll feel like, "Wow. My company does care about me." There was actually this study in 2014, and it showed that employees who are very satisfied with their benefits are almost four times as likely to be very satisfied with their jobs. So it does go hand in hand.
That reminds me of a story.
We had an employee here, and he was signing up for his own benefits, and he spent an hour-and-a-half on the phone, because the only information he was given was documents, PDFs and he was just asking questions because it's so hard to understand. So, education is just a huge piece of that, and it's overlooked too many times.
Right. Plus, as an HR professional, you don't want to be on the phone for an hour-and-a-half with one employee, taking you away from your daily tasks or focusing on other objectives that are going on.
As an HR department, let's say you decided you wanted to educate your employees and allow them to really find the true value in the benefits. The main question becomes how? Flyers, brochures and e-mails, they're all great, but video is taking over in a big way.
Video is everywhere. It's in our e-mails, in our Facebook feed, text messages, on our Intranet. It's everywhere. Here's a quick statistic for you: It's predicted that in 2017, almost three-fourths of Internet traffic will be video, and let's face it.
I believe that.
People are less likely to read than watch a video.
Why not incorporate video into your HR communication goals? Many companies ... They're passing around the printed materials from the insurance companies, expecting employees to read them. Honestly, before I was in this industry, I wouldn't read any of that stuff. Maybe if I had to go to the doctor or get a prescription, I might go through my benefits package and see, "How much is it going to cost me to go to the doctor?" Imagine, you can send out a video to employees. It could just be a 10-minute video, and they'll be completely informed on what benefits they're offered, when to enroll and how to enroll.
You can even post a video on your Intranet. That's actually one of the best places to post your benefits videos because 65% of employees are going to their company's benefit Website when they're seeking help. They're not going to the insurance companies, so it's really important for companies to take ownership of this.
One of the great things about video that you can't get from brochures or other printed materials is the analytics. With our open enrollment videos, we can see how long people are viewing, where they're dropping off, how many times they're viewing. We can even see the time of day that is most popular and base our e-mail campaigns around this information.
You can actually target what information needs more communication, if anything's being over communicated. You can incorporate knowledge questions throughout to truly gauge the comprehension.
Yeah, the ability to measure that stuff is important because you want to not only send your message, but you want to see how people are receiving it, how they're interacting with it. Are they actually watching it, and that information can really key. There's a lot of software out there, a lot of programs that can help you do that, and I think even YouTube gives you some metrics.
Not just giving the message, but understanding how it's being used and how much information is being obtained.
Yeah, exactly. Different companies have their own goals for benefits or how to reach employees, but I always want benefits videos to relieve HR professionals from questions that can be answered with a simple video. I'm telling you, Andrew, it has worked.
Yeah. For those of you who don't know and are listening, we at Joyco, we actually do a lot of benefits explanation videos. We work with some really big names out there. Unfortunately, I can't tell you too many of them because there's a lot of proprietary info there. Yeah, we work with some major companies and they value the stuff, and there's a reason why they value explaining their benefits through video. It's because it works.
Now, one challenge with benefits is the vocabulary. People will write these scripts, and you look at it, and you stare at it because that's all you can do. The words are like, "What does that mean? I don't get it."
How can companies overcome this confusion in their benefits explanation videos?
Yeah, the vocabulary is tough, and I truly commend any company trying to make it easy for employees to understand the insurance jargon.
Health insurance, it's so important. It's one of the hardest things for people to figure out. For example, I was in an enrollment meeting, and I hear them saying, "Co-insurance under Plan A is 20%, and your deductible is $1,500 within the benefit year."
Okay. Ask anyone not in the industry what this means, and they're going to need some explaining. It's foreign language to them. Let's simplify it and say something like, "Your health insurance has a deductible, much like your car insurance. You pay the $1,500 first before the insurance company starts to pay your claims. After you pay that $1,500, the insurance company will pay 80% of your claims, and this is called co-insurance."
Yes, this uses more words, but I'm going to only have to say this once for it to click with an employee.
Imagine adding visuals to go along with it while in the video Andrew I’m telling you, it won't be long before your employees become a pro in navigating their benefits. What does this mean for HR departments? Less phone calls and less questions.
It doesn't take much for those phone calls to last a long time.
Exactly. Yeah. There's a popular term used since the beginning of the Affordable Care Act is, "Grandfathered status." I see a lot of companies put a little asterisk at the bottom of the page, and it says something like, "This plan is grandfathered, and therefore, not entitled to regulations under the Affordable Care Act."
Not only does this sound negative, but no one is going to know what this means. I don't even really know what they're trying to convey here. I work with a lot of people who still have grandfathered plans, and I was working with this one company that, they wanted to notify their employees, of course, that their health plan was still grandfathered. Their medical plan was great, so it wasn't losing any of the benefits of being ACA-regulated.
So, in the video, I had this animated old grandfather walk across the screen while explaining what "Grandfathered status" meant, and I made sure to reiterate all the features of their health plan so employees could understand that they still have a valuable medical benefit. The visual of the grandfather, one, made employees more engaged and two, it stuck in the employee's head and, I'm telling you, they're not going to forget what grandfathered status means.
It's so important to incorporate a little bit of fun in your benefit communications, because it will make it memorable. It's so important to remember who your audience is.
For another company I was working with, they had a medical expense reimbursement plan, and they called it a "MERP." Every time our team would think of this word MERP, we just envisioned a guy letting out a big burp. It was a little bit gross, but we thought, this may just be the perfect way to make this concept stick with employees because in the years prior, employees were having a hard time understanding their MERP, and the HR team. They didn't know how else to explain it.
That's where we came in to do this video, and we had this little animated guy let out a big “MERP” on the screen and then explain how employees use the MERP by using an example. We didn't state the rules. We just used a simple example of someone breaking their leg. We talked about how much will come out of their pocket, how much will come out of the employer's pocket and how much the insurance company would pay.
Then all the other minor details can be supplemented with printed documents because the video is for educating, and it's for getting employees excited about their benefits. You could have a great benefits program, but if you don't communicate it properly, your employees will never know.
There have been studies that have shown that companies with actually below-average benefits programs that communicate it well, they're more likely to have employees that are happy with their benefits rather than a company who has above-average benefits that do not communicate it effectively at all.
I've seen so many employees, and I've done a lot of research, and a lot of them are not confident in the choices they're making. As an employer HR department, you want to provide educational tools that help employees gain confidence in their benefits.
I'm sure you know Met Life. They put out a benefit trend study every year. I look forward to reading it every year. It's really interesting. What stood out to me the most was this: 55% of employees of medium employers agreed with this statement. "My company's benefit communications did not effectively educate me on my benefits options so I could select the option that best meet my needs." 55%. That's more than half.
With benefits, you can change this. You can explain to employees what to look for when trying to decide between plans. Don't just explain what the plan is, but explain how it's relevant to them. For instance, why would someone want short-term disability insurance? Maybe they're planning to have a baby. Why would someone want an HDHP plan with a health savings account as opposed to an HMO plan?
The key is to simplify the message, make it fun and relate it back to the viewer.
We see that all the time. You've got people who say, "We want really high-quality video. We want it to be really professional, really good looking," but again, they sometimes forget about the message, and people respond to the answer of the question, "Why?" That allows them to relate to the message. If they don't know why they need to care, then it's going to be really hard for them to care.
You have to simplify it and explain why it's relevant and important. A lot of times, it really helps to people to click and engage.
I want to talk about something just a little different but still related. How important is corporate personality in these videos? A lot of times, they're bland and boring. It's just all this jargon that you don't get.
I think it's so important. Many companies are actually using benefits videos as a recruiting tool, and culture is very important in the working population today, especially amongst the millennials. The oldest millennials right now are around 35 years old, and this is a huge chunk of our workers. They choose culture over salary, and they prefer video over reading.
And let's face it. Benefits aren't the most interesting thing, so HR departments that are willing to make benefits as fun as possible will capture more engagement.
Let's say you have a more professional culture that doesn't really allow for some of the jokes we discussed. Then maybe bring on your company CEO in the video to discuss some of the reasons why he or she chose the benefits that your company offers. Just that personal touch will make a huge difference.
Whatever your culture is, I promise you there is a way to incorporate it through video. If you have a large women population, perhaps provide a video that educates them on what to do regarding benefits if they're expecting to have a baby or expecting to adopt. Some of the younger work forces, you can have more fun with. I did this quick two-minute video. It was called, "Open enrollment is here," and we did a super hero theme, just because it's trendy. It's fun.
It was just about two minutes long, and it talked about all the mistakes the mom made last year, like forgetting to add her children to her dental plan, not reading the plans closely, not adding enough money to her FSA account. This year, she's going to make a change and choose to be educated about her benefits, and that made her the super hero of the family.
Andrew, it was totally cheesy, but for this tech company, it worked, and the people, they just loved it.
Awesome. I'm a huge proponent of creativity, and I think that there are certain areas, certain industries, certain parts of business where, for some reason, people just throw creativity out the door. You don't have to be a Steve Jobs or you don't have to be a Michael Bay or some big celebrity who's done crazy things. You've just got to have an open mind and think, "This doesn't have to be perfect, but let's have fun with it. Let's enjoy ourselves." It doesn't have to be quite so straight-laced, and you can do something with it that's a little different, and people remember different.
Yes. That's exactly right.
I would like to ask you if you have any last advice before we wrap up?
Yeah. My biggest piece of advice is, it's usually common for HR companies or HR departments in companies to send out all this information during open enrollment, but I will challenge you to send out these videos all year round. Like I said before, open enrollment, you're just inundated with information. It can be so overwhelming for the employee, so why not create short videos to use during the entire year?
Let's say, a wellness video in January to get started on the right foot, or an FSA video in the middle of your plan year to show, "Do you still have money left in your FSA account? These are the type of things you could be purchasing with your FSA," or a retirement video in the summer to emphasize the importance of saving and financial wellness.
These videos, they only have to be about two minutes long to get the main point across. Most of your employees are going to listen, and they're really going to appreciate the effort.
One more statistic I have to throw out there. It's just so interesting, but 78% of people watch videos online every week, and 55% of people watch videos online every single day, so why can't HR departments tap into this?
Yeah. Sometimes it's interesting just to watch and see what takes off and what doesn't. You've got your first adopters, and you've got those who wait a little bit, and you've got those who wait a long time, and from what we've seen, there's so much potential in HR to add video where you can really answer a lot of questions, save your HR department a lot of phone calls and a lot of questions like we were saying earlier and have a better-educated work force so that they feel more comfortable picking a plan and they feel more comfortable where they work because they understand what their benefits are.
It doesn't take rocket science or $20,000. It could, and you're welcome to get that sophisticated. We're happy to do a $20,000 video for somebody, but it doesn't have to be like that. It doesn't have to be an overwhelming process to get that kind of thing done.
Thank you for sitting and chatting with me. This has been very fun.
Of course. Yes. Always love talking about videos and how they can improve employees' lives and the HR professional's life as well.
Yeah. Thank you, guys, for listening. Feel free to check out more blog posts. We've got a few other interviews. If you're interested in more HR topics, we've got a few. You'll find those in the menu on the side of the Website, so poke around a bit and give us a call if you have any questions. We're in the Denver area of Colorado, and so we're very happy to help with video needs, but we're also happy to simply answer questions and see if we can point you in the right direction, give you some advice.
Don't hesitate to call us. Thank you for listening, and you guys have a great day.