Every generation agrees: Humans are top source for benefits

A new Colonial Life survey finds just 11% of employees depend on internet for valuable benefits information.

Regardless of age, full-time U.S. employees turn to humans -- and not the web -- when they need benefits information during enrollment season, according to new research from Colonial Life. While older employees turn to HR professionals, younger employees turn more to coworkers and friends/family. (Graphic: Business Wire)

COLUMBIA, S.C.--()--A new Colonial Life survey finds Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Zers can all agree on one thing:

Humans are best source of benefits information.

While today’s younger employees grew up with powerful computers that can reach the world fitting into their pockets, it doesn’t mean the Internet has become a trusted source for advice on protecting their families, finances and futures.

In a survey of 1,506 full-time U.S. employees, Colonial Life found just 11% of employees name the Internet as the place they turn to learn about benefits at enrollment season each year. That number falls to just 10% of Millennials and 7% of Generation Z workers.

Meanwhile, 76% of all employees turn to humans – HR professionals, coworkers, family and friends. It’s even higher for Millennials (83%) and members of Generation Z (91%).

While providing information through digital tools is critical, it’s not the best way for employers to engage their workers, says Colonial Life’s Richard Shaffer, senior vice president for growth markets.

“Many benefits providers and experts are running away from human interaction and human touch in their business model,” Shaffer said. “But we are finding that now, more than ever, employees want to turn to a trusted human for benefits advice.”

While every generation depends on people for benefits support, an employee’s age does impact which humans are trusted advisers. Baby Boomers and Gen X workers prefer to turn to HR professionals (50% and 42%, respectively). But younger employees turn to coworkers (26% for Millennials and 31% for Gen Z) and friends and family (22% for Millennials and 37% for Gen Z).

“It makes sense that younger workers may turn to people they know and trust – like coworkers and family – for benefits advice,” Shaffer said. “But it may not make sense if those coworkers and family members aren’t benefits experts. That’s why Colonial Life offers more than 6,000 benefits counselors for employees to talk to – at no cost to the employers.”

About the Study
Colonial Life worked with Dynata to conduct a survey of 1,506 full-time U.S. employees between 18 and 70 years of age between Jan. 28 and Feb. 1, 2019.

About Colonial Life
Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing financial protection benefits through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, dental, cancer, critical illness and hospital confinement indemnity insurance. The company’s benefit services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support nearly 95,000 businesses and organizations, and 4.5 million of America’s workers and their families. For more information visit www.coloniallife.com or connect with the company at www.facebook.com/coloniallifebenefits, www.twitter.com/coloniallife and www.linkedin.com/company/colonial-life. Colonial Life is a registered trademark and marketing brand of Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company.


Chris Winston

Release Summary

Every workplace generation agrees that humans are the top source for benefits information, according to new research from Colonial Life.

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Chris Winston