How Technology Can Help Workers Get The Most Out of Open Enrollment

After salary, health benefits are among the most important features of employee compensation. Against the backdrop of rising inflation and economic uncertainty, such benefits are more important than ever. As an employer, you can also recognize substantial returns from the quality of the health benefits you provide for your employees.

Studies show that high-quality health care that prioritizes the health of employees can reduce absenteeism by 27%. Other benefits include lower healthcare expenses, improved productivity, and fewer workplace accidents as healthy employees are more attentive at work.

Yet, there are no advantages to benefits that go unused. This is why open enrollment is such a critical period for all businesses and their employees.  

The success or failure of open enrollment can make the employer more or less competitive and helps people navigate decisions that will significantly impact them and their families. As such, it's vital to improve open enrollment to make it both engaging and informative to encourage employees to invest time and effort into the process. Still, helping individual employees choose the benefits that are most likely to meet their needs and those of their families isn't easy.

HR professionals are tasked with providing employees with essential information about coverage options and helping them navigate the process of enrollment. This can mean a significant increase in both tasks and time commitment for HR professionals. To ease the burdens of a potentially stressful season, many organizations turn to technology that can streamline the process and offer employees more control. Consider these ways technology can help workers get the most out of open enrollment.

Utilize Multiple Channels of Communication During the Preparation Process

Providing employees with adequate information is a crucial part to improving the open enrollment process. For employees to understand what's available and choose the benefits most likely to meet their needs, they need information well before it's time to fill out forms. While some of this information can be distributed with the use of official pamphlets and during meetings, it's important to use multiple modes of communication to improve convenience for employees.

Materials describing health benefits options can be delivered through a variety of channels. Consider the value of connecting employees to portals maintained by insurance carriers, consultants, and other vendors. As an employer, you can also set up a company message board, forum, or online portal designed to deliver information. Such options make it easier for employees to access information at a time that fits within their schedules.

During the busy fall/holiday season, it can be easy to forget important deadlines. Without multiple reminders, employees often end up making rushed decisions at the last minute. Using push notifications and automated email reminders is a great way to remind employees of upcoming deadlines in ways that will get their attention at various times to prompt action. SMS messages and email communication can also create a valuable channel for the transfer of additional information or to supply answers to questions.  

Invest in an External Employee Benefits System

Modern consumers are accustomed to self-service in many facets of life with the use of various technologies. A combination of accessible information and self-service options can provide employees with convenient ways to examine their options and make informed decisions and changes on their own. While this might feel like placing added burdens on your employees, studies reveal that 81% of consumers expect more self-service options. 

When employers invest in an employee benefits system, like that provided by Workday, it allows employees to self-service their benefits needs. With the use of a computer or mobile device, employees can compare plans and eligibility rules. Benefits enrollment software also allows employees to enroll, make changes, and view their elections from their devices. These options allow employees to examine benefits options at their convenience, bring questions to employers in a timely manner, and evaluate potential choices with assistance from their spouses or partners in a low-stress environment. 

When employees have self-service options, HR professionals can enjoy a lighter workload and turn their focus to providing employees with valuable information and advice. 

Use Measurable Data to Tailor Open Enrollment Materials to Employee Sectors

Benefits that don't meet your employees' needs are likely to go unused. Similarly, when employees are convinced that benefits are designed around a lifestyle different from their own, they may not invest in helpful benefits. 

It's common for employers to offer a variety of complex plans to allow participants to maximize benefits and stay within their budget. However, it's also typical for the information provided about health benefits to have a strong focus on families. This can leave early career-stage millennials and gen Z employees feeling as though workplace health benefits don't fit their needs, even when there are a variety of plans designed to meet their needs at a lower price point. When millennials make up 35% of the workforce, this is a critical mistake. 

When you use measurable data to review the results of the previous year's enrollment efforts, you can get a better understanding of the ways you can target specific groups of employees. Information derived from your workforce statistics makes it easier to tailor open enrollment materials to specific employee segments. The data you collect can be used to develop customized communications for automated emails, employee portals, and individualized advice about available selections. Employers can further engage employees with the use of webinars and videos that provide information sessions for specific groups. By tailoring open enrollment materials, each employee hears what matters most to them. 

Benefits enrollment strategies are always evolving. When employers invest in technology to streamline and improve processes and provide employees with more information, workers can get more from open enrollment. Technology also lightens the load for HR professionals during open enrollment. These benefits can improve engagement and improve adoption and utilization of employee health benefits.

As a result, employers recognize higher ROI on their investment in employee health benefits. A modern Human Capital Management (HCM) solution can help your organization improve its open enrollment process.

Learn more about how we can help you meet the needs of your employees during open enrollment.

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