Behavioral enrollment, part 3: Fascinating stories.
THIS MONTH, we'll consider some additional ways of thinking about voluntary benefit enrollment that can help get inside the minds of eligible employees and help them make good decisions. In her book "How to Fascinate," Sally Hogshead lists seven triggers that key people's personalities. She equates influence to fascination--if you're fascinated by an idea, you will not only respond favorably (buy it), you will also continue to favor it (own it) and potentially become an advocate (sell it).
Hogshead's insight is that how people respond to a product or service depends on how the idea fascinates them. The seven triggers of fascination (and possible corresponding statements during enrollment) are:
* Passion (don't leave you family high and dry--you care for them)
*Alarm (you have financial risks that could ruin you or your family)
* Mystique (you probably don't realize what this product will do for you)
* Power (take charge of risks--don't let them take charge of you)
* Prestige (only caring people provide enough protection for their family)
* Rebellion (live on the edge, but protect against your greatest risks)
* Trust (this protection is reliable--it's there when you need it)
If you are intrigued by this model, go to www.howtofascinate.com and take the assessment to find your own type. It will help guide your enrollment presentations by helping you understand how you tend to fascinate others. Then build your presentation around your strongest talents, as well as gauging the triggers that will be most effective with your audience.
Another part of the toolkit to help make enrollment opportunities more effective is the use of stories. In his book "Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story," Peter Guber observes that motivating people to act in the way we want often depends on our ability to touch a chord through a story. Stories resonate on both the logical left brain and the intuitive right brain. Stories can be interwoven into enrollment in many ways. One is the negative:
Let's consider Susan. I used to work with her. When a voluntary disability income protection plan was offered, she decided it was too difficult to understand and too expensive, so she didn't buy coverage. A few months later, she found out she needed surgery and would miss several weeks of work. She was turned down by the underwriters. Susan saved a couple of hundred dollars by not buying the product--and lost thousands. The other story approach is the positive: Jack was one of my coworkers. When we were offered a critical illness plan, Jack knew nothing about the product. But when he thought about it, he realized he knew quite a few people at work who had gone through a critical health issue, and most of them talked about all the expenses that their medical plan did not cover. He found he could purchase a $20,000 benefit for just over $25 a month. The benefit may have saved his family from going bankrupt when he had a critical illness event just a few years later.
When you think about how to influence employee behavior during enrollment, think about how techniques like fascination and storytelling can bring life to the benefit options being offered. They can help make enrollment experience more fulfilling for everyone.
by Marty Traynor