Following on from our previous post about the benefits of benefits shopping, we wanted to highlight the four most important things you can do now to make enrollment season run more smoothly.
But first, a quick note. While we realize that making these benefits decisions currently feels so far away that it’s easy to brush off this blog post. The reality is that in just a few short weeks you and your employees will be making some pretty big decisions that could very well impact their health and happiness over the next 365 days.
So, without further ado, here’s the four steps we recommend you take:
Get your system sorted:
Administering benefits can be a headache for even the most seasoned HR professional. However, it can be made infinitely easier for you and your employees if you select a platform that automates the bulk of the work. An HR system that integrates your HR, payroll and benefits data can significantly cut back on the amount of time your HR person (or you!) spend requesting, collecting, and inputting the same data into various systems (which we all know increases the opportunity for errors). If you have a good system, you only have to enter the data once, resulting in a faster, more efficient, and potentially more accurate enrollment process.
At Abel HR, we offer a system that not only automates the whole process, but is also accessible to your employees, meaning that they can dip in and dip out when they need to peruse their options, request a life-event change, or merely track their usage. This provides autonomy to your workers, while also cutting out the middleman.
Communicate your strategy:
The benefits enrollment process is a journey as opposed to a destination. There should be multiple points in which you are checking in with employees, where you will need to receive feedback from them, and when you will be driven by deadlines. To make sure everyone is on the same page, let your employees know NOW that benefits season is approaching and how you plan to manage this process. This means explicitly stating where they can find information, who they should go to with questions, what is expected of them, when deadlines are, and what those deadlines entail.
The actual modes of communication also need to be discussed. Let employees know to look out for an email, but also consider posting reminders on your company’s intranet. Don’t have a lot of tech-savvy staff? Then you might need to make use of posters in the break room, sign up events, or even incentive programs for meeting deadlines. Think creatively – and think about how you’ve been best able to communicate with your staff in the past to form the right strategy for your business.
School your staff:
Even with the most fine-tuned benefits enrollment roll out, your staff are going to have questions, usually focused on which benefits they should pick and how much this is going to cost them! While it’s not feasible to turn your entire manager-level staff into HR reps, it is smart to show them how they can help locate these answers. For example, have your managers know where on the automated system employees can draw up a list of pros and cons for various benefits offerings or run a simulation calculation to see how it will impact their take-home pay. In doing this, you reduce the number of employees running to the HR rep (or you!) for these answers, while saving the “big questions” for your benefits administrator.
Set up check ins:
When surveyed about the benefits enrollment process, most workers report that they felt rushed to make a decision and made their selection without fully understanding their options. Rather than procrastinating, help your employees to avoid a last-minute panic by developing a calendar of informational events, paperwork assistance opportunities, and other check points along the way. If necessary, offer incentives for participation – a free lunch or a gift card raffle – and set up a system whereby those same managers mentioned above are checking in with their team to make sure they’re staff are on track to make the right benefits decisions.
Learn more about how Abel HR’s can become essential to your business. Contact us at (800) 400-1968 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.