“Only about 10% of employees read the benefits materials we sent out to them, so we decided to ‘go digital’ for open enrollment. GuideSpark Communicate Cloud enabled us to create a tailored employee experience for each segment, provide better overall benefits education, and save costs.”
Director of Benefits
A Growing Global Footprint Requires Digital Communications
Best known for their flagship brands Variluz, Crizal and Transitions, France-based Essilor is the world’s leading ophthalmic lens company and has been named one of Forbes’ 100 most innovative companies for 7 years straight. Over a billion customers wear their products across 130 countries and they employ 65,000 people around the world. With headquarters in Dallas, TX, they operate 120 smaller offices across the country, with 8,500 employees working in a mix of corporate, lab, and manufacturing roles.
The company’s top-down commitment to innovation and inclusion is reflected in its hiring philosophy and ever-changing approach to employee benefits management and communications. Ryan Murry, Essilor’s US Director of Benefits, explains that relying on traditional methods wasn’t effectively connecting their distributed, diverse, and multilingual workforce to the “complex world of benefits.”
“Most people don’t understand benefits very well,” he says, “and it was difficult to get in front of everybody with the core messages we’re trying to deliver. We tried to do as many meetings and webinars as possible, but people just didn’t pay attention to many of the communications we sent out.” Moving to the digital realm, where employees spend a lot of time as consumers, was the obvious answer—and in 2012, Essilor’s benefits team began their transformation with the adoption of a web-based open enrollment process.
An Eye-Opening Open Enrollment Evolution
Even after moving the benefits enrollment process to the Cloud, recalls Murry, “we still sent a paper benefits guide to employees, and very few people read it. We saw an opportunity, heading into 2017, to reach employees more effectively by leveraging technology to change the way we communicated information.” The company has multiple employee segments with different benefits, and different language preferences.
“We wanted a better way—a more tailored way—to educate employees on their benefits and promote active participation in benefits selection. And we felt like we needed to jump in full-scale and not go half way,” Murry says. They decided to use GuideSpark Communicate Cloud to deliver multi-channel campaigns to five different employee groups, with a Spanish-language experience for each one.
Working with a GuideSpark communication strategist, Murry’s team developed a four-week campaign timeline comprised of customized email messages, postcard mailers, and digital posters with SMS codes for employees with easier access to mobile phones than computers. “We started a couple of weeks before enrollment with topics like ‘The Value of Benefits’ and ‘Choosing a Medical Plan’ to get people ready,” reports Murry, “and continued through the two-week enrollment period with an ‘Enrollment Checklist,’ ‘Cost Scenarios,’ and other topics to keep them interested.”
Murry explains that while they relied mostly on email for communicating important messages, “posters and postcards with SMS short codes were great for hourly employees who either don’t have a computer at work or who primarily use a mobile phone.”
“GuideSpark Communicate Cloud allows us to easily leverage multiple channels to reach our diverse employee population and provide a tailored experience for each of them. We have employees in multiple locations with different language preferences, and varied access to technology, so a multichannel approach was critical to success.”
A Clearer View of Engagement, Participation, and Savings
Their new approach to communications yielded positive feedback from employees, and the results speak for themselves: 96% of employees engaged with the communications. Murry’s team reviewed their GuideSpark analytics to see how many users were reached, what content was viewed or downloaded, and what drove the most action. “We knew people were exploring more than just the piece of content that was promoted in the email,” says Murry, who adds that, “switching to digital communications eliminated our need for a paper benefits guide and third-party consultants and saved us $45,000!” Moving forward, Essilor is using this new approach to communicate with new hires.