Originally posted January 29, 2014 by Keith Kitani on https://ebn.benefitnews.com

In 2013, the crucial parts of health care reform became a reality after months of debate and discussion, employers across the country revamped plans while consumers attempted to make sense of the complex and confusing new landscape. As we begin the New Year, educating employees about new benefit programs through innovative, digital communication will be absolutely crucial. Here are five predictions for what 2014 will bring:

Education will trump uncertainty – Health care reform created a massive opportunity for companies to re-think how they communicate about health plans.  This will be the year for organizations to step up their communications to ease the uncertainty many felt in 2013.

The shift to digital – Smartphones and tablets are the new M.O. for consuming information.  Employers will make the shift to communicate important content in digital formats available to employees anytime, anywhere.

The customized economy – Greater customization will emerge for engaging a company’s workforce and for influencing company culture.  Companies will communicate with employees in the company’s unique voice and style, and provide consistent and digestible messaging regardless of employee location or job function.

Employee engagement will be measured – With communications going digital, companies will have more concrete ways to measure employee sentiment, by tracking actual behavior.  This new awareness will drive new initiatives to address and further improve employee engagement.

Wellness programs will become more prevalent – With more focus on high deductible health plans, due to HCR, wellness programs will become more mainstream to promote positive health, as well as to help companies attract and retain talent.

2014 will be the year when employers start to embrace more innovative ways to communicate with employees.  Those employers who focus on employee education, leverage digital channels, and customize their communications appropriately will not only enjoy higher employee engagement but also a greater awareness of the level of that engagement.  We see, time and time again, that engaged employees are more productive employees.  Those companies who get employee engagement right will see it in their bottom line.