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6 Ways Tech Improves the Open Enrollment Process

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If open enrollment makes you want to hide under your desk, take heart.

Open enrollment is the only time of year where employees can make changes to their benefits choices (like adding dependents, changing insurance carriers, or enrolling in benefits for the first time). For HR professionals, open enrollment can be an annual, administrative nightmare.

Businesses of all sizes face a barrage of challenges during this process, including:

  • Managing the process in a tight time frame, typically around six weeks (depending on what state you’re in)
  • Ensuring employees are well informed of their benefits choices. According to industry data, only 19% of employers say their employees have a high-level understanding of their benefits
  • Making sure the paperwork is completed accurately and on time

If an employee misses the open enrollment deadline or makes the wrong selection, it could result in additional administrative burdens. Or worse, employees could be stuck with their incorrect choices for a year.

Leveraging technology is the smart way to manage open enrollment. Not only do organizations find it easier to manage the process, they see an increase in efficiency and employee engagement. Factor in the time saved on administrative tasks, it’s easy to see why so many companies are turning to tech for open enrollment.

  1. Administering Administration

    The amount of paperwork involved in open enrollment is staggering. Each employee makes an election for each category of healthcare options. Believe it or not, one of the biggest mistakes HR sees are incomplete packets submitted and missing signatures from the employee.

    Ensuring every document is received and signed is an advantage of utilizing technology. Employees make their elections online, which requires that every form is completed and signed before moving on to the next page. When everything is complete, the administrative process is finished – with HR being completely hands-off.

    Cassy Herding, office manager at Great Plains Processing, said open enrollment used to be all pen and paper.

    “I had to manually calculate premiums and create a letter for each employee,” she said. “Then I had to track them down to see if they had any changes.”

    When she moved the open enrollment process to the online platform Zenefits, she saved hours of paperwork because employees and their spouses were able to go online to make their selections.

  2. Answering Questions

    Employees rank health care coverage as one of the top benefits employers can provide. But too few know the options available. Every employee has questions about their benefits coverage. Are there new options or exclusions in a policy? Can I add new family members? If I have a new health challenge, will I be covered?

    What’s startling, is that forty percent of survey respondents did not feel their company’s benefits communication effectively educated them on their benefits. There’s also a gap between how successful employers believe they are at educating employees–and how successful they actually are.

    To get employees the information they need, often HR has to read through policies on a case by case basis or turn to account managers for help. With online enrollment, employees can find answers to benefits questions online, within each of their healthcare plans. Even family members can get the answers they need.

  3. Effective Communication and Engagement

    Tired of sending out reminder after reminder to employees that enrollment is coming? The average office worker receives 121 emails per day. Employees connected to a company intranet experience 20-25% more efficiency in their day by eliminating time spent sifting through emails.

    Technology streamlines overall communications and targets employees who haven’t made their selections for follow-up notifications. It can also eliminate common communication challenges between generations. Benefits technology even screens out the employees who aren’t making any changes for the upcoming enrollment year, verifying their “no choice” as a choice and taking them out of the communication pipeline.

  4. 24/7 Access

    From anywhere, on any device and any time of the day or night—can your HR department offer that type of access for employee questions, concerns and paperwork submission?

    Tech never sleeps. When your employees are ready to make their elections from a mobile phone in the middle of the night, a tablet on a weekend afternoon or their desk during the workday—enrollment software is waiting to help.

    It’s even more useful when your employees are making benefits decisions that include family members. Instead of having to take copious notes or recall each plan and the critical details, they can sit down with their spouse at a time that’s convenient for the both of them to review each plan and make a decision.

  5. Less Paperwork (Hooray!)

    The sheer volume of paperwork required to enroll even the smallest number of employees every year is staggering. With online enrollment, not only will you be an eco-champion, you’ll save your enrollment team the overwhelming task of administering and filing all those forms.

    Online enrollment is the 21st-century answer to managing this critically important but time-consuming administrative task. Whatever the size of your business, online open enrollment improves the benefits enrollment experience for your staff and your organization.

    Although five generations are represented in today’s modern workplace, most employees say they prefer digital benefits communications. In addition, 91% of employees surveyed trust the information on the portal. In today’s modern workplace, if you’re not offering a digital benefits communication option, you are not engaging most of your workforce.

  6. Time Savings

    With all the advantages outlined thus far, it’s no surprise that leveraging technology in the open enrollment process is a super time-saver, in some cases saving up to a week’s worth of time.

    As businesses grow, it’s imperative for HR teams to have scalable and efficient processes for open enrollment and other HR functions. By utilizing modern technology, HR teams can cut out the long, manual steps of administering plans, answering questions, communicating and tracking enrollment, managing paperwork and more.

Reach out to your OneDigital strategist to discover how moving to a benefits and HR technology platform could impact your company’s bottom line, improve employee engagement and make life easier for everyone.

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