Have you ever seen a child standing in front of a dessert table? Big eyes, bright smile, utter indecision about where to begin?

We’d probably like to think employees look at their benefit options the same way. Of course, they’re not really seeing a dessert table in front of them. More like a big old buffet of all their least-favorite vegetables. You know. The green ones.

That’s because benefits aren’t fun to shop for. Even though employees place incredible stock on the benefits they’re offered — studies show employees choose jobs in large part by the potential for great healthcare and voluntary plans — the actual shopping process is a drag.

Benefits Shopping is Tough

In one study, healthcare shoppers responded that they found “pervasive” barriers in their research and purchasing process. All of the respondents found they hit barriers related to their “attitude, knowledge, or trust in the system.” Most also hit barriers related to the systems or administrative process surrounding the healthcare shopping process. There’s no doubt about it—benefits shopping is tough work.

Narrowing it Down is Tougher

You may have read about “The Paradox of Choice” — the concept that too many choices can actually discourage a decision to purchase or partake of an offering. More options require more time spent doing research and comparing products against one another. While providing more choices is often seen as a hallmark of a great benefits program, it’s important to provide employees assistance with choosing between them — or employees may make the wrong purchase. Worse, they may make no purchase at all.

Decision Support Tools Answer Benefits Questions

Your employees are trying to find the best plan at the best value for them. And they’re working to find that information. The above study found 98% of participants at least made an attempt to compare prices or find the best rates.

So the question is: how can you make it easier for them?

Decision support tools help take the guesswork out of comparing healthcare plans. A tool which helps a user determine value is different from simply comparing prices. Decision support tools don’t just show side-by-side price comparisons. They give employees recommendations based on the employee’s self-assessment about important factors, including age, family size, intentions for the coming year, and risk aversion.

The WBD decision support tool is an interactive feature that engages your employees while taking the guesswork (and hard work) out of benefits shopping. Employees are asked carefully elected questions to gauge their healthcare needs and projected usage. Based on their answers, the decision support tool offers ranked recommendations of the plans available — complete with estimated cost.

These side-by-side rankings take the complications of too many choices off the employee’s plate. Instead of facing down a loaded buffet, they’re being offered only the dishes that will work for them — choosing one will be a much easier decision to make.

Could a decision support tool make benefits shopping better for your employees? The answer is yes. And when it’s part of the WBD benefits platform, you can be sure they’ll find an engaging benefits shopping experience that’s as easy as loading a cart with goodies from their favorite retailer.

Contact WBD today to learn about how our decision support tools can help your employees take charge of their benefits experience. Click here to see What We Do, including a full line of employee-facing and Human Resources components to make benefits and payroll a breeze.