How HR and Employers Can Address Pain Points in Virtual Benefits Enrollment
An annual tradition for HR professionals and employers, benefits enrollment season, is approaching. This year, however, the enrollment process will be unlike any other you’ve experienced as the Coronavirus pandemic has caused many employers to shift their benefits enrollment to a virtual format.
Although virtual benefits enrollment allows work-from-home employees to complete the process while honoring social distancing guidelines, that doesn’t mean it’s problem-free. As HR professionals navigate layoffs, furloughs, hires, and rehires carried out virtually, they’re also adapting to a virtual environment for benefits enrollment that may be entirely new (and confusing) for employers and employees.
On top of that, benefits enrollment is top of mind for many workers as they worry about the pandemic era’s impact on the health and wellness of themselves and their families.
So how can HR professionals and benefits administrators address all these pain points? Workflow management technology might be the answer. A comprehensive software solution can help streamline operations for HR professionals and benefits administrators and can give employees more clarity and control surrounding their benefits.
A comprehensive workflow management system can aide in many areas of human capital management, including:
- Providing a collection of online and virtual enrollment tools that helps an employer effectively manage the process of employees choosing benefits.
- Easing the workload of HR professionals as furloughed employees are rehired and onboarded.
- Keeping employees connected with their employer and colleagues through online communities to help answer questions employees pose about their benefits.
- Ensuring employees are knowledgeable about and content with their benefits, and that they can comfortably schedule medical appointments.
Additionally, the advantages of a workflow management system are vital at a time when employees likely need more time than normal to make critical decisions about their benefits and healthcare needs.
In a 2020 Colonial Life survey of 1,200 U.S. consumers, it was reported that 73 percent spent less than 60 minutes reviewing their benefits each year and nearly 90 percent of consumers didn’t entirely understand their benefits and the enrollment process.
A workflow management system can help boost employees’ understanding of their benefits make the virtual benefits enrollment process more comprehensible and efficient with educated employees. However, research shows many employers aren’t fully embracing a digital approach to benefits enrollment.
Although a survey conducted by The Hartford found that more than half of employers will rely more heavily on virtual capabilities this year during enrollment, small businesses don’t reflect those numbers. A primary reason for this? Investing in technology can be costly, and without expert help and advice on deployment, many employers aren’t taking advantage of technology that could make their jobs easier during benefits enrollment season.
The transition to more digital tools will continue to be realized over time, but there’s no doubt the shift to a virtual platform and experience has been fast-tracked by COVID-19. As every workplace grapples with new practices put in place due to the pandemic, it’s clear technology greatly benefits employees who are trying to make up their minds about benefits. At the same time, employers must be mindful of supplying benefits that attract and retain employees. That’s especially challenging these days.
And while many view benefits enrollment as a tedious task, it is necessary to ensure the health and safety of your future. That is why many employees view how a company handles the process as a key differentiator in accepting positions. A recent Prudential Financial survey found that 73 percent of employees cited benefits as a top reason to remain at a job—up 59 percent from the 2019 survey.
This underscores the importance of a well-thought-out and comprehensive benefits enrollment process that takes the stress out of learning, reviewing, and implementing benefits—both on the employer and employee sides. With the help of a workflow management system, an employer can stay on top of the now online-heavy benefits enrollment process while managing employees’ benefits and myriad other issues that are key to talent attraction and retention.
Lina Tonk is the VP of Marketing at iSolved HCM, with more than 15 years of experience in the marketing field. Her specialties include brand positioning, customer recruitment, and communications. Tonk has been responsible for successfully executing multiple M&A brand transitions, along with product growth release brand strategies. Much of her time is spent impacting sales and marketing synergy and transferring the importance of brand across the company. She also is heavily involved with the development of the iSolved Partner Network, overseeing a successful launch in the summer of 2014 and the rapid growth that followed. Involved with the HCM industry, its trends, and market presence, Tonk is also passionate about company culture and making a difference through marketing efforts across locations. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toledo and was previously a consultant for lnfinisource Benefit Services, an iSolved company; she joined iSolved in 2012.