3 Reasons to Automate Your Open Enrollment Process
Mar 28, 2023
Mar 28, 2023
No, this isn’t a daydream of a frazzled HR manager or a business owner. This is the reality of the impact benefits automation, and the enrollment process has on organizations who step out of the “old school” pen and paper frame of mind.
My name is Beth Reichert, Director of HCM Services at HireLevel. You see, I’ve been working in the payroll industry for nearly a decade, and I’ve seen it all. I’ve supported many businesses through their benefits enrollment challenges, ACA reporting headaches, and worked to help increase engagement through software initiatives, and what used to seem like a luxury or a wish list item, has now become a necessity to save time, reduce risks, and to provide a more competitive employee experience as we approach the great re-engagement era. As a wife, and mom of two young kiddos process efficiency is important to my personal life, and to my position at HireLevel. That is why I am here to share some tricks of the trade.
Now, if you’re reading this and thinking, I’m too small of a business or my staff doesn’t like change, just wait a minute, and hear me. A recent HR study found that 68% of employees want to enroll in their benefits online/electronically. On the other hand, only 38% of surveyed employers thought that their employees wanted to use a computer to enroll. Talk about a disconnect! If you’re making those sorts of assumptions, odds are, you’re missing out on the opportunity to offer a better experience to help maintain a thriving workforce. Sure, we are certainly working with a multi-generational workforce here, but the vast majority are seeking empowerment through automation and there are ways to make sure each employee feels heard.
I see three key impacts of benefits enrollment automation for businesses and brokers:
Businesses are having to readjust each year to meet the latest compliance regulations. From mandatory sick and maternity leave to retirement reporting, the security one finds through automation is key for keeping up. After all, there are steep fines associated with compliance mishaps. Take COBRA administration: an employer could be penalized up to $200 per day for not complying with COBRA requirements. That quickly adds up and you’ll find similar fees for not offering affordable insurance to your full-time equivalent employees if you meet ACA thresholds. Why even risk it when software can do the job for you by monitoring and administrating compliance-centered data and tasks?
As inflation rates and pay rates rise, everyone is tightening their belts and looking for ways to cut costs. Benefits automation helps with this in many ways, and one area that I focus on is the strategy to increase enrollments. You see, most employees are only looking at the big three on a paper application: medical, dental, and vision. Recently, I worked with a broker and a client of ours to increase enrollments in ancillary benefit offerings (i.e. long-term care, hospital, and cancer plans) by strategically and intentionally setting up their automated OE to be more informative. After their OE, they found that their ancillary enrollments increased by over 60%! Their employees could see what was offered beyond the big three and the broker was thrilled to see the numbers increase. What’s better is that these benefits were part of a cafeteria plan and were pre-tax deductions, saving employees’ and employers’ tax dollars. Additionally, by educating employees on the importance of preventative health through wellness initiatives, employers see the cost in their expense decline as employees find healthier lifestyles.
I strongly encourage you to look at your benefits package and speak with your broker about what else is out there. More importantly, it is time to evaluate your open enrollment strategy and how you are educating your workforce on what makes you different as an employer. Take responsibility for the facilitation of this annual burden off your shoulders and empower your employees to take control. As the economy changes and the people-centric labor market continues, the time is now for doubling down on your retention efforts and we, along with many other HR leaders, believe that benefits automation is your next best step to improve the employee experience.
Say goodbye to manual processes and Hi to taking care of your people. The bottom line is that you need to free up your HR resources to answer questions instead of tracking paperwork.