A decade ago, when you went to an employee benefit enrollment meeting you would find a room full of people thumbing through a large paper packet of information about the different benefits options your employer offered. You would then sit through a long (and often boring) presentation from the HR department about the same information. At the end of the presentation, you would be handed a litany of forms and asked to make your benefit elections for the year. Lather, rinse, repeat every 12 months. This process gave little opportunity for employees to digest the information or ask questions specific to their family dynamic or personal needs.
Fortunately, benefit communications have improved significantly over the years as more and more employers have adopted the mentality that one size does not fit all when communicating about employee benefits. Now when employers are deciding how to communicate benefit offerings, they focus on tailoring the message and medium to best suit their company’s culture and workforce demographics. Employers who are open to new strategies of methods of communication not only see higher plan participation rates, but also find that their employees are more informed about their benefit options.
Below are some tips for employers looking to implement a more effective and engaging benefit enrollment process:
Create 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.
Take 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.
Make 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.
Make 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.
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 866-634-6713 to speak with an expert or visiting G&A Partners‘ website to schedule a free business consultation.
This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.