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Delivering a globally consistent, locally relevant benefits experience at Comcast

Health and Benefits|Total Rewards|Wellbeing
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June 22, 2021

A case study: How to connect employees in different countries to the same consumer-grade benefits experience while providing content tailored to local market needs

Comcast Corporation, a global media and technology company that connects millions of people to the moments and experiences that matter most, sought to connect employees in different countries to the same consumer-grade benefits experience while providing content tailored to local market needs. But without a global technology platform to enable a consistent yet flexible benefit plan approach such an experience would be difficult to deliver.


The challenge


Comcast identified the need to launch a solution to support expected growth, expansion and service improvement in larger locations. The markets initially identified as the most important were India, Singapore and China. At the same time, Comcast wanted to replace the existing legacy platform used to deliver flexible benefits in the U.K. with a global platform providing a more modern user experience.

But there were a range of challenges to overcome before Comcast could deliver an improved, scalable benefits experience. These included escalating benefit costs and high administrative overhead given that HR often needed to manage multiple plan structures across different entities and payrolls in the same country. In addition, inconsistent, decentralized messaging contributed to a poor employee experience and low participation rates.

Furthermore, each of the key markets had different needs:

  • India. India lacked a support infrastructure for its benefits programs. To support its rapid growth, it was looking to automate its benefits enrollment and, in the process, simplify the onboarding process.
  • Singapore. Singapore needed technology to improve its employee experience around flexible benefits while reducing its administrative burden. It also required better data and reporting.
  • China. In this rapidly growing, strategically important market, Comcast needed to deliver a dual language platform and to engage employees around their benefits, including an online flexible spending account allowing employees to pay for additional health and wellness activities beyond the provision of major medical plans.
  • U.K. Comcast sought to move to a new platform in order to provide all its U.K. employees with a modern employee experience, easy access to benefits information from any device and a better understanding of their benefit choices. It also was looking to simplify and streamline benefits delivery to increase choice while reducing the required effort.

Delivering flexible benefit plans in these different markets would require a digital benefits platform that provided a consistent employee experience while allowing content to be tailored to address local requirements. Moreover, given that it wanted to expand organically as well as through acquisitions in international markets, Comcast recognized that it needed a benefits approach and underlying technology that could scale to support a fast-growing company.

To address these needs and challenges, Comcast decided to partner with Willis Towers Watson with whom it had an existing brokerage and advisory relationship to implement a scalable, digital solution, Benefits Access.


Approach


The Willis Towers Watson consultants worked closely with the project manager and other critical stakeholders at Comcast on all phases of this multi-country project, which kicked off with a series of strategy and prioritization meetings.

Key activities in each country included:

  1. 01

    Identifying client technology needs

    This involved scoping business, HR census, payroll and vendor requirements, and addressing issues such as system access/login process (Single Sign- On, username / password) and secure data transfer. Processes were simplified, digitalized and/or automated where possible to streamline benefits delivery and improve the employee experience.

  2. 02

    Designing the employee experience and configuring Benefits Access

    In this phase, the team focused on building interfaces, configuring the Benefits Access look and feel, including applying Comcast’s global reward brand, setting up reports, payroll and system access as well as the helpline.

    As appropriate, the team introduced Benefits Access Ready Products, pre-negotiated with best-in-class market providers and tailored to different markets. The set-up was fast and efficient, enabling team to meet tight deadlines. This approach resulted in a scalable benefits experience that enabled Comcast to bring new benefits to employees it had not previously reached.

  3. 03

    Developing a communication and change management strategy

    The communication and change management strategy featured two key outreach activities. The first involved outreach to HR and senior leaders with the goal of encouraging these stakeholders to become champions of the new platform. The second involved outreach to employees using messaging that was globally consistent in brand and tone of voice, even as it delivered locally relevant content. The objective was to educate and engage employees around the new platform and the benefits available to them and, ultimately, to drive desired behaviors such as prompting employees to select benefits.

    Taking a multi-channel approach, the team delivered consumer-grade communications via a range of channels including e-cards, in-person briefings, posters /digiscreens and the platform itself. It was also important to use the most active channels in a given market. For example, in China, the team ensured materials were compatible for distribution via WeChat, which was the preferred internal communications channel locally.

  4. 04

    Testing and implementation

    The team conducted end-to-end system testing, prepared the helpline and trained the ongoing administration team for next phases. Once Benefits Access went live, employees started to learn about their benefit options and enroll in benefit programs. The new solution provided flexibility and choice and could be configured to scale as the company grew.

Benefits Access enabled us to deliver a globally consistent employee experience and locally relevant benefits to our diverse workforce.”

Martel Neville | Senior Manager, International Total Rewards, Comcast

The results


Benefits Access was successfully implemented in India, Singapore, U.K. and China on time and on budget. As a result, all employees had access to the same consumer-grade benefits experience, with content tailored to reflect local market requirements and employee needs.

The strong communications strategy helped to improve employee awareness and understanding of available benefits, which, in turn, contributed to strong engagement and overall participation. An average of 90% of employees across all countries logged into the system during their first enrollment cycle with an average of 80% finalizing their benefits.

Willis Towers Watson served not just as a technology partner but as a strategic advisor, broking and administration partner, supporting Comcast in every step of the journey. This integrated partnership, provided Comcast with efficient and effective programs, administrative support and insights to improve engagement and participation rates. For example, the U.K. saw a 30% year-over-year increase in the number of employees logging into the system during the initial enrollment cycle.

We are now able to streamline benefits delivery, better engage employees and support the ongoing development of our Total Rewards approach”

Martel Neville | Senior Manager, International Total Rewards, Comcast

The use of some pre-negotiated ready-to-go benefit products helped ensure a material reduction in the administrative burden as well as costs. The Benefit Access set-up makes it easy to add more of these products as needed, which, in turn, will continue to help reduce administrative overhead.

Benefits Access also provided for improved data collection (using an automated global data feed), storage and reporting, which strengthened the global governance of employee benefits. Data is stored on a global infrastructure that’s uses state-of-the-art protocols to ensure confidentiality and a secure set-up. Moreover, because Benefits Access can be easily configured to meet changing needs, Comcast now has a scalable global benefits delivery model and technology solution to support its worldwide growth.

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