HR Administration

GameStop Corp. Optimas Award Winner for Innovation

By Janet Wiscombe

Dec. 3, 2010

With a workforce of 12,000 full-time and 24,000 part-time employees—largely young men in their 20s with far more interest in video games than in benefits selection—GameStop Corp. faced this challenge: how to verify and update employee records for new regulatory requirements and to make benefits enrollment mandatory.

In response, the world’s largest video game and entertainment software retailer created a comprehensive electronic campaign. Working with Univers Workplace Solutions, GameStop created a video of a worker playing a benefits video game. The protagonist in the game deals with unplanned injuries and illness to show employees the importance of being prepared.

“Our employees are techies. They are very energetic, passionate and game savvy,” says Faye Saenz, director of employee benefits at the Grapevine, Texas-based company. “They weren’t going to look at written communication. They like things that are edgy and a little dark. They’re connected to several electronic devices at once. We knew we had to change our ways.”

Full-time employees now receive benefits information through e-mails and automated telephone messages, texts, online videos, Facebook and Twitter pages, Flash presentations and other electronic materials. When full-time employees received a call about benefits, they were automatically connected to the Univers call center to review benefit choices and update their information using an interactive screen.

Part-time employees received similar communications, but the information was even more narrowly tailored in a three-week campaign titled Build Your Arsenal. The communication strategy used slightly irreverent information, such as a 60-second Flash movie mixing video game imagery with the real-life peril of getting into an accident and not having health insurance.

Employees responded in unprecedented numbers. HR professionals were in touch with almost every eligible full-time employee. Counselors helped them understand their benefits in scheduled 15-minute, in-person visits.

Benefits participation rose 38 percent for medical, 162 percent for flexible spending accounts, 100 percent for accident insurance and 211 percent for life insurance. For solving an HR challenge with originality and having a clear understanding of its employees, GameStop wins the Optimas Award for Innovation.

Workforce Management, December 2010, p. 24Subscribe Now!

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