It wouldn’t be an article about 2020 without talking about the impact that COVID has on this fall’s open enrollment. Traditional methods like in-person meetings, handing out forms and sitting down with employees are all methods that this year are likely not going to happen. If you haven’t started thinking about online enrollment, now is the time.
There are many benefits of online enrollment. While nothing is 100% free from the potential for errors, online enrollment allows for the most reliable experience as employees are guaranteed to fill out all required information and approvals.
It also makes life easier for your HR team to track who has and who has not yet completed their enrollment. The downside is that online enrollment takes time to get ready. You will probably need to confirm your rates with your carrier at least two to four weeks prior to the start, and if you are electronically sending enrollment data to the vendor, you will want to be aware of those timelines as well.
What if I am currently using a paper method and relying on in-person meetings?
If you are starting from scratch, the timeline will be longer as you will need to also secure a platform. A good place to start is with your current payroll provider. K-Pay, BerganKDV’s human capital management suite is composed of payroll, timekeeping, and HR modules, making it possible for you to accurately manage all aspects of your workforce through one web-based application. The advantage of going with your current provider is that you can see the full picture of your human resources operation whenever you need to, in real time without multiple systems, spreadsheets and processes.
There are also many stand-alone vendors who handle online enrollment. If you are a member of the Society of Human Resource Professionals (SHRM), you can access a vendor directory with more than 50 companies listed.
No matter which way you decide to go, don’t spend too much time focusing on how to make the online system replicate what you are currently doing. Instead, invest the time in process improvement and take advantage of the new digital toolset available to you.
How about using an enrollment service?
This method is most often seen when you’re offering at voluntary products like accident or critical illness insurance. Often firms that provide these benefits will offer one-on-one enrollment counseling for all of your benefit plans. The ultimate goal here is, of course, to increase participation in the benefits that the vendor is providing, but it can be a valuable addition to your overall process. Make sure you understand how this impacts your recordkeeping system. Are they enrolling people on their own proprietary system? If so, how will you get the data back for payroll? How will they get that information to your carriers? Also consider your culture and how using a third party to discuss benefit could be perceived by your employees.
Whichever direction you choose to take, the time to start down that path is now to be ready for enrollment this fall. We have put together a guide to help you think through your game plan for this year’s open enrollment season. The key is to get your plan developed early so you have the time to develop the supporting materials you will need to make the open enrollment experience easier for you and your employees. Our team here at BerganKDV is on hand to help you navigate the ins and outs of online enrollment. Start here.