On-the-Go: Mobile Apps Redefine How Employees Tap Their Workplace Benefits

September 23, 2014 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Mobile usage in the U.S. is at an all-time high as Americans check their phones upwards of 110 times a day.

In fact, more people access the web through their mobile device than they do through a desktop computer,[1] and 25% of Americans only use their mobile devices to connect to the internet[2].

But as mobile phones continue to play a central role in the everyday lives of American workers, people are increasingly using their devices for more than just texting, shopping, and playing games. They are also managing the day-to-day affairs for both their jobs and their personal lives. As a result, employers are seeking ways to provide employees with easy access to their retirement and health benefits on mobile devices.

Since mobile phones are the gateway for Americans to do business, socialize, and entertain themselves—sometimes all at once—it’s critical that workplace benefit apps go beyond just providing account balance information.  Workers today are looking for enhanced capabilities where they can easily perform transactions, such as making fund exchanges, scanning in a check to repay a loan, or checking the status of a health claim while waiting for the doctor. If mobile apps don’t allow them to find the information or take action immediately, they are less likely to follow-up or engage at all.

Also, many workers are finding the ability to benchmark their progress against colleagues or neighbors very helpful. Fidelity research indicates that peer benchmarking capabilities on mobile apps have encouraged participants to increase their savings when they see how they stack up to their peers. In addition, communication features such as push notifications, integration with social networking sites, and gaming are all elements that are appealing to employees in a way that is fun and entertaining.

As employers look to enhance their employee engagement and communications strategies, they must go beyond the desktop/laptop experience and look closely at how to deliver the same engaging capabilities on smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. This is especially critical for younger workers who fully embrace mobile technology, and who expect to engage and be engaged at the click of a button or tap of a screen.

When deciding how best to employ a mobile strategy to engage employees with their workplace benefits, it’s important to work in tandem with your provider or recordkeeper to ensure that a sound digital strategy is in place within the company. This relationship will be important in not only advocating for a mobile benefits experience to senior management, but also implementing the upgrades throughout the workforce.

In addition, it’s critical to work with partners that are on top of the innovation curve and that have a proven track record in helping companies integrate mobile strategy and deliver tangible results. The digital industry is advancing so rapidly that working with a provider that can’t keep up will only strain internal efforts. Providers that can not only lead in the fast-moving market but also provide solutions to complex problems are the cornerstone of a successful mobile campaign.

The momentum around mobile usage is exploding and therefore it’s important that the mobile experience empowers employees to access and stay connected with their workplace benefits when and how they want. This will make it easier for workers to take action while also helping them achieve better retirement outcomes.


Charles Berman, senior vice president of digital platforms for Fidelity Investments  

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917   

Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company, Inc. 500 Salem St., Smithfield, RI 02917


This feature is to provide general information only, does not constitute legal or tax advice, and cannot be used or substituted for legal or tax advice. Any opinions of the authors do not necessarily reflect the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.