It’s that time of year again! No, we’re not talking about the upcoming holiday season or the new year that everyone’s especially looking forward to this time around. We’re talking about benefits season. For most organizations, the end of the year is when open enrollment happens, allowing eligible employees to select, change, add, or remove benefits for the coming year. It’s a limited window of time, and benefits admins will be hard at work ensuring everyone has the information they need to make their decisions and that elections are processed properly for accurate payroll in the coming year. (It also happens to be a time when you might want to give your benefits team some extra kudos – because it’s no small feat pulling this process off smoothly, even if it’s something that happens every year.)
There’s a lot more to a benefits program than may initially meet the eye. It’s important for attracting talent to your organization as part of a comprehensive benefits package. It can also set your organization apart when you offer unique benefits that really fit the needs of your employees, helping to retain your existing workforce. But, that’s only true if you offer the right benefits, communicate their value effectively, and have everyone on board with a smooth and simple enrollment process.
Provide Benefits Your Employees Will Value
What’s the best way to find out what benefits your employees really want and will use? Ask them! (Sometimes the simplest answer really is the best.) If you haven’t taken stock of your benefits package lately, taking the simple step of reaching out to employees on what benefits they value can go a long way. Not only does this help give employees a voice – which we already know is important for employee engagement – but it ensures you’re focusing your benefits options where they matter most. Employees will feel like their opinions are valued and will feel more confident that the organization is listening to and attending to their needs. But – and this is an important but – your benefits offerings will only help improve employee engagement and retention if the open enrollment process is executed properly.
Communicate Across Your Organization
One of the most important aspects of benefits administration is communication. You have a limited period of time for open enrollment, and getting every eligible employee to take the time to understand their options and make their elections in that window of opportunity requires a strong communication plan. Sending out an email is probably not going to cut it. You need multiple channels of communication to meet your employees where they are and truly reach them. In addition to emails, memos, and meetings, you can look to your HR and Payroll software for some solutions as well. Since this is the platform where employees are already logging on regularly to fill out timesheets and also where they’ll need to go to make their benefits elections, it makes sense to provide important messaging here as well. The e3 platform DATIS offers, for example, has a variety of features that can help with benefits enrollment:
- Notifications & Acknowledgements – The e3 platform can be set up to display electronic acknowledgements when the employees log in. These can be used to ensure the employees sees, acknowledges, and downloads important information, like company equipment assigned to them, updates to the employee handbook, and benefits information. This notification will pop up upon each login until the employee officially acknowledges receipt of the information – which is then saved to their electronic employee file – acting as a great reminder system that helps ensure compliance as well.
- Company News – This serves as the “homepage” that employees see after logging in and making any necessary acknowledgements. It’s designed to provide company-wide communications and updates that employees can “like” and comment on. This is a great place to post an article about your upcoming open enrollment and what steps employees will need to take. You can include information like the dates of the open enrollment and any informational sessions you may be offering to help explain your benefits options further.
- My e3 – This self-service portal for employees provides them with all of the information they need at a glance. From this area, employees can select the benefits they want. To help employees make the most of their benefits and find the options that are right for them, this is a great place to include links to plan details and decision-support tools. Having all of this information in the same place where employees make their elections will help ensure everyone has the information they need to make their elections.
Make the Open Enrollment Period as Easy as Possible
Going hand-in-hand with a solid communication plan, making the open enrollment period as simple and straightforward as possible will help employees complete the entire process. Again, your HR and Payroll software will play a major role in this process. On the enrollment side, e3 helps guide the employee through the enrollment process and provides them with the information they need. On the HR side, e3 provides reporting capabilities to determine what proportion of your workforce has completed their benefits elections and who may need an extra nudge to complete this task on time. And on the Payroll side, e3 automatically calculates deductions based on these elections to ensure accurate payroll in the upcoming plan year, making things easy on everyone.
See How Our Solution Can Enhance Your Benefits Administration
It’s one thing to talk about how the DATIS HR and Payroll software can make things easier for employees and managers, but it’s another to actually see and experience all that it can do. If you’d like to learn more about how our solution can improve your benefits administration – and many other aspects of workforce management as well – contact us today for a brief demo.