Open enrollment season is almost upon us—and you know what that means. For many HR and employee benefits professionals, it’s one of the most stressful, grueling times of year.
For employers still using printed enrollment forms, it’s also the season of paper. Reams of it, forests of it. Paper forms that must be distributed, collected, and scanned, then input and compiled for insurance carriers and payroll purposes.
But there is a more efficient alternative. Roughly 47% of employers have already moved their open enrollments to online platforms, according to Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association (LIMRA) research. These employers are happy with their HR technology, per LIMRA. In fact, the more benefits functions their HR technology handles—i.e., not just open enrollment, but everyday administration and employee communications, too—the happier employers are.
So, while many employers have yet to flip the digital switch, those that have taken the plunge are pleased with their decision. As we head into another open enrollment season, consider the advantages of making the move for next year—and know what to look for in your HR technology.
The Advantages of Online Open Enrollments
One of the obvious advantages of moving to an online open enrollment platform is the tangible cost savings. When you automate a previously manual work process, you save in terms of supply costs (in this case paper, printing and mailing) as well as labor hours.
From automatically emailing enrollment reminders to forwarding meticulously-compiled data to each insurance company, HR technology lifts the administrative burden off the shoulders of HR and benefits personnel, while allowing employers to better manage and analyze their enrollment data.
Furthermore, online open enrollments can improve benefit communications and provide a better enrollment experience to employees. After all, younger generations of workers not only prefer but expect online self-service and 24/7 access across the board.
In addition, ample research suggests that many employees don’t truly understand their benefits. According to benefits experts, offering employees a variety of communication channels—from an online self-service portal to traditional in-person meetings, with other forms of media in between—is the best way to educate workers on their choices. If you manage an hourly workforce, this may be especially true.
Optimizing open enrollment may even help you improve employee retention. Studies show that employees are more likely to stay with an employer if they are happy with their health plans—and making sure they understand and appreciate their benefits is the first step to obtaining their satisfaction.
What to Look for in HR Technology
When evaluating HCM platforms with benefits in mind, there are three areas to consider: its functionality regarding daily benefits administration…how well it facilitates employee communication…and the extent of its open enrollment capabilities. In terms of the latter, consider these 10 hallmarks of a robust open enrollment platform:
- It’s user-friendly, so employees can easily make selections and update their data.
- It’s mobile-friendly, so employees can enroll via smartphone as well as PC or laptop.
- Its interface can be branded to reflect your identity.
- It’s fully integrated with your payroll system, so payroll deductions are flawless.
- It generates automated enrollment reminders as needed, without HR involvement.
- It’s up-to-date on all employee benefit regulations, especially ACA mandates—and the tech provider has a process in place for keeping it current.
- It supports a wide variety of educational benefits media, including videos and cost calculators.
- It offers tracking and reporting features to keep you in top of each open enrollment’s progress.
- It automatically transfers benefits data to insurance carriers—no heavy lifting for HR.
- It can manage employees’ FSA/HSA accounts, including deposits, deductions, account balances and employer contributions.
Managing Open Enrollments for Hourly Workers
If you manage an hourly workforce, conducting effective open enrollments are particularly important. Hourly employees value their benefits as much as their salaried counterparts, although they may need more support fully understanding them. Given the current labor shortage, a comprehensive open enrollment process can give you an edge when it comes to retention.
As you may know, EPAY’s HCM solution is geared to employers managing an hourly workforce. Our powerful benefits module offers all the open enrollment capabilities described above and more. For example, it accommodates multiple languages, a must if you manage a multilingual workforce.
In addition, it allows workers to compare multiple health plans at once—even on their smartphones—so they can make more informed choices. And it automatically deploys specific plan options to pre-defined groups of employees, so no matter how many benefit groups you manage, it helps simplify complex benefit programs.
EPAY’s HCM system also offers a full-suite of integrated HR solutions—from recruiting and benefits to performance to payroll—for employers, as well as the most powerful time and labor solution available for the hourly, distributed workforce. If that’s the workforce you manage, you owe it to yourself to learn more. Start by taking our two-minute tour.