by: Kristine Olson, Senior Compliance Analyst at Avionté Staffing Software.
Open enrollment is quickly approaching for Employers with plan years starting January 1st.
Prepare for open enrollment now for a smoother process for your staff and employees, and promote increased employee engagement.
1. Learn from experience. If you’ve been through an open enrollment previously, solicit and listen to feedback to learn from your previous successes and identify areas for improvement. Ask yourself, your staff and most importantly, your employees, “What went well last year?” and “Where can we improve?”. Document the responses and brainstorm with your team on how best to address problem spots. Gathering feedback early on will give you lead time to develop new solutions and implement new ideas.
2.Consider voluntary benefits. In a challenging recruiting environment where employers are competing for talent, employee benefits can make you stand apart from the competition and improve employee retention. A voluntary benefit program can help employers offer part-time employees access to benefits such as savings plans, long term care insurance, pet insurance, identify theft protection, often all employee-paid via payroll deductions or direct-pay. In many cases, the benefit provider will offer the necessary education to your employees and help support the enrollment and administration of the plans.
3.Communicate, communicate, communicate – then, communicate some more. Employees know it is important, but “analysis paralysis” when evaluating complicated benefits can lead employees to push benefits to the side, resulting in low enrollment and participation rates.
- You’ve done the work to put together a great benefit package, the next challenge is knowing how to communicate with employees in a way that will reach them effectively. Consider text reminders, utilizing social media and creating short videos, along with the more traditional communication platforms like email, postcards, brochures, printed materials and presentations from HR. For most employees, there is no such thing as overcommunication!
- Provide the information employees care about and speak their language. What are the timelines? Are there new plan options available to employees? What changes can employees expect with their prescriptions or coverage for spouse and children? Have you changed insurance companies or networks and can employees still see their preferred providers? Have costs increased and if so, how much? Anticipate their questions and create a cheat-sheet or chart that compares plans and lays out changes.
- It is likely that your employees aren’t lining up to be educated on the intricacies of dental plans and High Deductible Health Plans, but they do want help navigating through the stressful process of enrollment. Healthcare is a different language and can be difficult to understand. Consider providing a health benefits glossary, like the glossary provided by SHRM. FAQs can also be a useful tool that help make complicated information easier to digest and understand.
4. Leverage available technology. Technology can help streamline the open enrollment process, both for your staff and for employees.
- Your insurance broker or insurance company may offer a benefit administration solution that allows employees to evaluate and enroll in employee benefits. Make sure you are aware of the tools available to your employees that can aid in the enrollment process and help eliminate the paper shuffling.
- Open enrollment is a very data-driven process for your insurance company and your staff. How will you administer open enrollment? What data and reports does your insurance company need? Do you know who is enrolled in insurance and who has declined? Having these data discussions with your insurance company can help ensure your staff is prepared to gather the necessary data using your HR and payroll technology solutions.
For more information:
- SHRM, 10 Questions for Employees Choosing a Health Plan
- SHRM, How to Explain Benefits to Employees Who Don’t Care
- The Balance, Benefit Ideas for Temporary and Seasonal Employees
- The Guardian Workplace Benefits Study: Part-Time Nation
Compliance questions or suggestions? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.