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The Power of Modern Benefits Administration

Open Enrollment and benefit selection can be a daunting task for any HR administrator. Ask yourself, have we truly found the best way to communicate changes being made to our employees’ plans and guide them through this process?

With new health options and requirements to be responsible for every year, it’s important to evaluate and explain your organization’s current Benefits Administration offerings instead of having employees blindly elect the same benefits as the year prior.

Evaluate your Processes

Aligning your processes with technology is essential for hectic benefit enrollment. Your team must not only be helping employees with enrollment, but should also stay on top of any changes by communicating them in simple terms. If your departments experience instances where the employee demographic information doesn’t flow seamlessly into the benefit portal, it may be time to take a step back and evaluate your HRIS software as a whole.

Without a modern HRIS, many organizations experience the struggle of manually inputting each employee’s personal information on carrier websites in order to enroll them. With a modern Benefits Administration process, carrier feeds to benefit providers eliminate the need for manual entry and automates enrollment and immediately discontinues benefits when an employee is terminated. This prevents employers from paying premiums for terminated employees due to unnecessary human error. For many employees, electing benefits for their families requires them to enter and re-enter spouse and dependent information, such as social security numbers, birthdates, etc. Such information can easily be auto-populated with a modern HR system.

Evaluate your Offerings

It’s no surprise that employee benefits play a key role in turnover and retention. While nearly 90% of employees admit they are somewhat satisfied with their jobs, a recent study by SHRM found that 40% of these employees have considered seeking alternative employment within the next year. Taking this a step further, it’s important to note that this same study revealed that almost one third of employees look for other employment opportunities in search of better overall benefits. With that said, organizations must take a look at what other organizations are offering to stay competitive.

For many nonprofit organizations, offering the “best” when it comes to benefits is not always an option due to tight budget constraints. Offering flexibility, such as the ability to work from home, is a less costly option. There are other cost effective benefits nonprofits can incorporate to attract and retain top talent. Adding a few extra days to your vacation package intended for paid volunteer hours is another way to impress employees wanting to “do good.”

Evaluate your Employees’ Opinion

Your employees’ opinions matter. Before Open Enrollment, organizations can conduct an employee satisfaction survey to gage the general perception of their current benefits and offerings. It may be time to consider revisiting time-off balances and work arrangement policies. As mentioned above, your employees’ tenure at your agency depends on their engagement and overall satisfaction, so if the results come back as unsatisfactory, be sure to begin making changes with the help of your executive team and the needs of your employees in mind.

Unfortunately, more often than not, employees either aren’t aware of the benefit plans offered to them or are simply too busy to go through all the paperwork. With larger organizations specifically, getting the message out to employees regarding the process, changes, and highlights can be difficult. A great way to get everyone on the same page is to compile a one page document that can be emailed as a PDF, posted on your bulletin, or handed out to employees prior to enrollment.

This document should encompass any major changes and highlight the best benefits that employees should consider. A modern HRIS can streamline this process by pushing this document to all employees when they log in to their account. The employee would then have the ability to acknowledge and utilize this information. Sending out this information electronically also eliminates the possibility that employees don’t see the bulletin board or memo as well as the need for printing hundreds of paper copies.

Sure, the power of a modern Benefits Administration system can streamline the Open Enrollment process for your organization, saving you both time and resources. However, many administrators fail to recognize that these manual cycles make it more difficult to find the time to evaluate their processes, offerings, and ultimately their employees’ overall satisfaction of benefits. These elements are key to employee retention, so the time is now to find a better way.

This DATIS Blog was written by Stephanie Kaselis, DATIS, on January 11th, 2018 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Written by Stephanie Kaselis

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