The benefits enrollment process can be a daunting one for both employees and employers alike. While open enrollment (the period during which all benefits-eligible employees have the opportunity to review their benefits options and make their elections for the next year) is typically conducted in mid-to-late November, the benefits enrollment process is a continuous one that really goes on all year. Each time a new full-time employee is hired, a part-time employee becomes eligible for benefits, or a current benefits-eligible employee experiences a qualifying life event, employers need to be ready to initiate the benefits enrollment process. However, conducting benefits enrollment can easily take up days of both your HR and administrative staffs’ valuable time.
The following strategies can improve the benefits enrollment process for both employers and their employees:
- Creating an effective communication process:
Make it clear to employees who can answer their questions regarding benefits and enrollment. Depending on each company’s HR structure, this may involve conducting one-on-one meetings with each employee prior to or during the enrollment process, hosting office-wide meetings or training sessions, or sending company-wide instructional emails. Organizations that outsource their employee benefits administration and/or HR may have the added benefit of having onsite or remote assistance through their outsourcing provider.
- Taking benefits enrollment online:
Online benefits enrollment allows employees to electronically input their own elections at a time most convenient for them, rather than a time that disrupts their workday. Employees have ample opportunity to review their benefit choices, check over their elections, and even make revisions if necessary, which means administrative mistakes are minimal. Then, once employees have entered their elections, the information can be automatically fed to the benefit vendor for processing. To further simplify the benefits administrator’s role, customizable electronic reports allow benefits administrators to follow their employees’ benefit status and track their elections.
- Making resources available online & onsite:
Providing easy-to-understand tools and resources helps lessen employee confusion during the benefits enrollment process. Keep plan information simple and accessible, and consider offering interactive resources like plan comparison tools. Organizations that utilize online benefits enrollment platforms may have the option to house this information in the platforms themselves.
- Making employees aware of important dates as soon as possible:
One of the biggest reasons open enrollment can be such an HR headache is that the process is often rushed. Offering employees generous deadlines and sending out frequent reminders will not only keep employees happy, but is also likely to encourage more employees to enroll.
Overall, a successful and effective benefits enrollment process can have a dramatic impact on the relationship between employers and their employees. Employers who take the extra time to make the experience more enjoyable and worthwhile for their workers will not only see increased participation, but also help employees make better, more informed benefits decisions that will help keep them healthy all year long.
G&A Partners, one of the nation’s leading professional employer organizations (PEOs), provides its clients with tailored employee benefits packages that both meet their needs and their budgets. G&A’s team of experienced and highly qualified employee benefits specialists oversee and administer a variety of plans from top-tier carriers while also delivering open enrollment assistance and ensuring employers are in compliance with all federal and state laws (ACA, HIPAA, COBRA, etc.).
Learn more about how G&A Partners helps businesses by providing, managing and administering employee benefits by calling 1-800-253-8562 to speak with an expert or visiting G&A Partners‘ website to schedule a free business consultation.