A well-managed benefits program is critical to the long-term success of an organization because of the major impact benefits have on attracting and retaining talent, employee productivity, and other factors that keep business leaders up at night. For this reason, you have a great opportunity to build a strong case for implementing benefit administration technology.
When our clients talk about their goals for HR technology solutions (namely online benefits enrollment), nearly all start with these top three:
Sound familiar? The following steps can help build a case for implementing any workforce technology, and particularly for online benefit enrollment technology.
The core function of online benefits enrollment solutions is to facilitate employee benefit plan enrollment. These cloud- and/or mobile-based technologies help ensure your employees enroll in the right plans, at the right rates, at the right time. In addition, many of these solutions offer communication tools, benefit plan decision support and workflow management for key parts of the benefits enrollment process, such as evidence of insurability, dependent verification and beneficiary management. The elections and changes are captured in the system and then transmitted electronically to the carriers, vendors, payroll provider and third party administrators on a regular schedule. (Note: electronic data transmission is the goal, but eligibility restrictions may apply.) Ultimately, these solutions can save HR a lot of time and money while providing a valuable benefit to employees.
Employee self-service enables key processes (such as open enrollment and new hire elections, as well as qualifying event changes during the year) to be initiated by the employee directly, without the support of HR. Triggers in the system notify the appropriate parties and keep the requests moving through the process with little involvement from HR. Reporting in the system improves auditing, compliance and verifications to ensure the activity captured in the system is not only allowable, but accurate.
Even with the addition of an online benefits enrollment solution, employers often choose to host in-person open enrollment and new-hire orientations to ensure employees feel supported during critical benefit choices. However, with the addition of benefits technology, the focus of these meetings shifts from providing packets of enrollment forms to providing login information and reviewing options to access the system.
This is where system usability and intuitiveness come into play — the easier it is to enroll, the faster employees will adopt and trust the system. Offering a variety of ways to access and enroll is also critical, as younger generations prefer mobile enrollments, while older generations may prefer to enroll telephonically.
Along with traditional benefits communications, new options exist with online enrollment solutions. Robust options include plan decision support to help employees model and estimate their out-of-pocket costs as they choose which plan best aligns with their personal and family goals. Online videos, tutorials and online chat can also help guide employees every step of the way.
For employers who desire an online benefits enrollment solution but are concerned about budget approval, there are a few simple steps to start building a business case.
Without benefits technology
With benefits technology
This process is simplified. When we consult with employers, it's necessary to itemize further tasks and create a detailed analysis. In addition to the steps above, you should include calculations for new hires, terminations and the improvements that likely can’t be quantified, such as increased consistency in communication and improved compliance.
To prevent over- or underselling the costs identified during this ROI calculation, consider these points:
If a well thought out business case isn’t enough to justify the budget, there are some other cost-saving measures that can help reduce the financial investment, such as insurance carrier subsidies, phased enrollments, and employee cost-sharing — all of which need to be carefully considered to ensure all parties understand the obligations and trade-offs of each.
Whether you are looking for a system that just gets the job done or for the most robust solution in the market, partner with a trusted workforce technology consultant to help implement new technologies or replace outdated systems. An experienced workforce technology consultant, such as the experts at Associated Benefits and Risk Consulting, can help you implement a custom plan for your organization with support throughout the process to ensure you find a right-fit technology that delivers on all key objectives.
For more information about benefit administration technology or other HR-technology solutions, please contact us.
Shannon works with clients to streamline their HR business processes with technology solutions.
As a technology consultant, Shannon works with clients to streamline their HR business processes with technology solutions. She provides guidance as clients evaluate their current state, needs, and processes, and then connects them with appropriate vendors to meet their needs. Her specialty is technology implementation projects with a focus on organizational change management. Her knowledge, professionalism and willingness to help both internal teams and our clients have earned her high recognition with clients.
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