Employers take great pains to create attractive benefits plans that help recruit and retain top talent. Yet if employees find the annual open enrollment process to be too stressful or confusing, it not only affects engagement and retention it can create a significant increase in HR support costs as calls to help desks grow.
A modernized open enrollment process can both transform the employee experience and reduce the administrative burdens placed on HR during the process.
The 2018 Aflac WorkForces Report, an annual study of benefits trends, found that improving benefits ranks second only to increases in salary as a way to retain top employees. Over half of employees surveyed (58%) said they would consider accepting a job with lower compensation but a more robust benefits package.
On the employer side, 75% of organizations in the study said their companies’ benefits enable them to reduce employee turnover.
But if employees encounter friction or grow frustrated when using the benefits technology provided to help them make critical life choices during open enrollment, the competitive advantage of offering a market-leading benefits package is diminished. As organizations continue to add more options to their plans like voluntary or pre-tax benefits, the importance of giving employees good decision-support tools to help them make wise choices during open enrollment will only grow.
Creating confusion or frustration during open enrollment also drives up support costs as employees seek out human assistance on help desks for basic questions that might easily be addressed through more user-friendly benefits technology.
The Right Benefits Technology Enhances the Enrollment Experience
Too often the benefits modules in human capital management (HCM) systems are difficult to use or overwhelm employees with too much information.
In the Aflac study 67% of employees said that reading about their benefits options is complicated, intimidating or stressful. In an ideal world 44% of respondents to the Aflac study said they’d prefer their benefits enrollment process be more like Amazon.com, with easy-to-compare options online and plain-language definitions of health insurance terms.
Companies often try to remedy usability problems with open enrollment by employing costly third-party tools designed to help improve the benefits decision-making process. Yet these tools usually suffer from a significant flaw: they require employees to research their benefits in one system while making actual plan choices in another. Forcing employees who are already facing high-stakes decisions to navigate multiple platforms only compounds their anxiety or frustration.
Organizations can avoid this problem by unifying that disjointed two-system process. InFlight, for example, has a solution that sits on top of existing HCM benefits modules and creates a more seamless open-enrollment experience for employees within that HCM.
Companies no longer need to implement two separate systems for benefits research and selection. Instead InFlight uses an enrollment wizard that guides employees through a series of questions to identify the best benefit plans for their unique needs. The wizard allows users to easily compare recommended medical plans to other plans being offered, eliminating the need to “lift and shift” content between dual systems.
Creating a Consumer-Grade Benefits Shopping Experience
All of this happens within a consumer-like application that delivers a modern user experience across desktops, laptops and mobile devices. The InFlight solution allows employees to compare-and-contrast their benefits options in the same easy and efficient manner that consumers use Internet applications to shop for phones, appliances, cars or homes. The solution pulls all relevant benefits information from a HCM into the enrollment wizard and causes no disruption to the underlying technology infrastructure.
It’s increasingly clear that employees across industries want simpler, more user-friendly benefits technologies and more light shined on a process where they too often feel in the dark about their health plan details.
In the Aflac study 74% of employees said there were things they didn’t understand about their
overall policies, including deductibles, co-pays or providers in their network.
If reducing HR’s administrative workload, controlling support costs, and keeping top talent satisfied are priorities for your organization, then modernizing the technology that drives your benefits enrollment process will go a long way in helping you achieve those strategic goals.