Navigating Benefits

How to Optimize Benefits Enrollment for Employees


  • Half of all full-time workers in the U.S. feel very stressed when it comes to enrolling in benefits

  • Employees want transparency when it comes to benefits, salary and other perks

  • Automated HR tools can reduce errors and make benefits enrollment more efficient

Posted by January 28, 2020

Every year, benefits enrollment season tends to put added pressure on human resource administrators. Between understanding new benefit regulations and encouraging employees to enroll in improved group plans, the role of the HR professional has expanded to that of benefits expert.

If you’re looking to streamline the enrollment process at your organization, here’s what you need to consider.

How HR Leaders Can Make the Most of Open Enrollment

Know the employee benefits market well. Workers typically expect their HR leaders to be knowledgeable about offered benefits. This means the department needs to get educated in benefits regulations, employee eligibility and enrollment requirements. A great resource for learning about benefits is the Employee Benefits News website, which posts frequent updates and pointers for managing benefits.

Utilize automation tools. According to HR Technologist, there are many benefits automation tools that can help HR personnel juggle the tasks associated with benefits management. “In a highly complex regulatory landscape, an outdated approach to paperwork leads to human errors, delays and operational gaps, denting employee productivity, company reputation and cost escalations,” the source explains.

Partner with plan administrators. Third-party benefit plan administrators can be a great source of information. They often know about benefit changes well in advance and can alert HR departments to these matters. These administrators also provide guidelines for communicating changes in benefits; one example is access to benefit posters that can be used to educate and encourage employees to get enrolled in time.

The Most Important Information to Communicate to Staff

Several factors of benefits enrollment are important for employees to understand. First, they need to know what benefits are being offered to them (and their eligibility) as well as the advantages of choosing a plan through your organization. They should also be told about important deadlines for enrollment.

Employee plan documents need to be available and provide detailed plan information, including pricing, coverage limits and how to file claims. If a high-deductible health care plan is offered, information about a health savings plan can also be made available.

Addressing Employees’ Fears and Fostering Confidence in the Plan

Choosing the right benefits can be nerve-wracking for many employees, mainly because there are so many options, price ranges and factors that can limit them. In a recent survey of 2,043 full-time U.S. employees, benefits administration software provider Jellyvision discovered that “49 percent of employees say making health insurance decisions is always very stressful.” Most respondents also noted that they don’t even understand the terminology.

Transparency Can Make Benefits Enrollment Better

All HR leaders should be prepared to share the benefits (and other perks) that their company offers. At your organization, you can help staff understand their options by creating a central employee benefits website that includes benefit information, instructions for enrollment and various tools. Being fully transparent about benefits—and salary ranges—is vital for employee retention as they may be shopping around for another job.

Another strategy to make enrollment less stressful is to host informational sessions, followed by a marketing campaign that shares tips for choosing the most suitable benefits. HR can then keep an open door for any employees who need more information or help enrolling.

Following up and being responsive to employee questions about benefits is also a good way to reduce colleagues’ fears about this process. You can make open enrollment a more positive experience for everyone this year.

Looking for tools and resources to help your fellow employees better manage their benefits? Check out the Employer Toolkit on United Concordia Dental’s website.

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