Employee benefits are an indispensable part of attracting (and retaining) top talent for your organization. They also promote employee health and well-being so that your staff can feel their best and do their best work. This is particularly relevant among healthcare workers who need access to proper personal healthcare due to the physically and mentally demanding nature of the field.
But benefits administration isn’t just about health insurance. Employers have been gradually expanding their offerings to remain competitive — especially in an industry that doesn’t always have the most competitive pay.
Additions such as flexible spending accounts (FSAs), wellness programs, life insurance, and retirement accounts are all common parts of an employee benefits package. While these expanded benefits are great for employees, they do add a bit more paperwork and administrative efforts to the benefits administration process. Fortunately, human capital management (HCM) platforms can help.
Here’s what behavioral health organizations need to know about benefits administration, including how it can help with recruiting, retention, and employee satisfaction.
Why Is Benefits Administration Essential for Behavioral Health Organizations?
Benefits administration is an important component of human resources for all businesses, but it’s notably important for behavioral health and human services. Here’s a look at some key driving factors.
Boosts Recruiting and Retention
Offering benefits gives your organization a competitive advantage when recruiting. Right now, the labor market is still fairly competitive. The Great Resignation isn’t over yet, so employers need to prioritize recruiting and retention to maintain adequate staffing levels. Behavioral health organizations have historically faced staffing difficulties, but they have been significantly impacted by the ongoing wave of resignations.
In addition to attracting candidates, offering benefits can also encourage employees to stay with your organization. Many behavioral health organizations cannot pay high salaries, but offering a comprehensive benefits package is an effective way to improve your compensation package and show employees that they are valued.
However, offering benefits is only an advantage if employees know about the benefits available to them. If the benefits process is complicated or poorly managed, it could increase turnover instead of decreasing it. It’s crucial to make the benefits enrollment process easy for your employees and to actively communicate information and updates regarding your benefits program.
Promotes Employee Well-Being
Providing benefits such as health insurance and paid time off can also improve the well-being of your employees. Access to preventative care can help your workforce stay healthy enough to work and care for their patients. Plus, time off provides time to rest and recharge when necessary.
Access to mental health services is also key, as behavioral health workers are at an increased risk of burnout. Before the pandemic, the American Psychological Association estimated that 21-61% of behavioral health workers were experiencing burnout. The pandemic led to an increase in burnout. A study of behavioral health workers at the Westchester Jewish Community Services found that 71% of those evaluated scored as experiencing high burnout.
Proper benefits administration is also important for Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance. HR managers in the behavioral healthcare field know the importance of compliance. From licensing requirements to occupational safety guidelines, it can be a compliance-heavy field.
The ACA sets guidelines for which insurance plans employers should offer and sets certain annual reporting requirements. Not all employers have to offer benefits, but those with 50 or more employees typically need to provide approved health insurance plans to full-time employees. HR departments must update their benefits administration practices to comply with the most current laws.
How a Unified HCM System Can Support Benefits Administration
Managing benefits administration can be a time-consuming task for your HR department. With the growing shift in the industry towards telehealth and remote work, it’s even more urgent to provide a clear and organized benefits enrollment process for your employees through digital communication and support.
An HCM platform can modernize your benefits administration practices to support employees wherever they’re working from, including a remote workforce. Here are some of the benefits of using HCM software for benefits administration.
Streamlines Open Enrollment
Open enrollment takes place during a limited timeframe. You don’t want anyone to miss an enrollment deadline and end up missing out on health benefits for the year.
Using an HCM tool to communicate with employees and send out reminders can help ensure that everyone is aware of upcoming deadlines and enrollment tasks. ContinuumCloud offers several communication features including a “Company News” feed and electronic notifications that employees must acknowledge in the platform.
In addition to improving communication during open enrollment, HCM platforms can also improve the benefits enrollment process itself. Employees can access self-service tools that guide them through selecting and signing up for benefits.
ContinuumCloud’s open enrollment wizard provides prompts to help employees navigate the enrollment process. It can also be set up to provide links to helpful resources such as overviews of health plans and provider search tools. Administrators can see which employees have completed, started, or not started the open enrollment wizard, and follow up with them accordingly to ensure that enrollment is completed on time.
Tracks Benefits Eligibility
Using an HCM to administer your employee benefits is fantastic if you have different benefits plans and employee types. ContinuumCloud’s HCM lets employers configure multiple plan types with set eligibility rules for different employee groups. This is especially helpful for behavioral health organizations that operate in different states with multiple locations, or through telehealth, as not all health plans and providers serve every state.
Integrates Benefits and Payroll
Another benefit of choosing a unified platform is the ability to manage payroll and benefits in one centralized spot. This eliminates the need for duplicate data entry or reconciling deductions across multiple systems. It provides a higher level of accuracy and reduced risk of error. Having all employee self-service tools including access to paystubs and benefits information in one place also provides a better experience for the employees.
Provides Detailed Benefits Analytics
Keeping track of employee benefit selections allows employers to better understand what their workforce really wants. When you have a large number of options to choose from, it can be helpful to know which ones your employees prefer.
For example, if you plan to add additional insurance options during the next open enrollment, it can help to see whether the majority of your employees signed up for PPOs, HMOs, or HSAs for their prior year’s health insurance. That will give you a better idea of which options might be worth expanding to additional coverage levels.
It can also be helpful to track employee participation in less common benefits like FSAs or commuter benefits. If enrollment rates are low, it’s possible employees don’t understand that particular option very well or may not even realize that it’s being offered.
It’s helpful to view all of the relevant information on a centralized benefits dashboard to get a clearer picture of whether or not your employees are signing up for the available benefits.
Streamline Benefits Administration With ContinuumCloud
Now that you know how a unified HCM platform can help streamline employee benefits administration, consider upgrading your benefits management process with ContinuumCloud’s unified HCM solution. ContinuumCloud can help you optimize open enrollment, improve communication around benefits, and more.
Unlike other HCM or benefits administration software, ContinuumCloud’s HCM system is designed specifically for behavioral health and human services organizations. It provides the tools needed to meet the unique needs of organizations and employees within these demanding fields.
Contact us to learn how ContinuumCloud can help your organization improve its benefits administration process.