Slideshow 5 steps to a successful fall 2015 open enrollment

  • June 16 2015, 10:50am EDT
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As benefit advisers and administrators, it’s easy to understand that open enrollment entails far more than the exercise of actually enrolling employees in their benefits. The most successful open enrollments are the result of year-round continuous improvement through planning, monitoring, and communicating with employees. Here are five ways benefit advisers and professionals can help ensure a successful 2015 open enrollment, according to the HR tech firm Benefitfocus:

1) Profile the company workforce

Employers and their advisers can analyze past years’ claims data and identify the percentage of their workforce that is driving costs. It’s important to understand the demographics of an employer’s workforce in order to design a plan that balances needs with budget and retention goals, says Benefitfocus. Then employers can benchmark their data to industry averages and design a plan that will help achieve their desired future state, the firm adds.

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2) Identify process improvements

What are the top sources of process waste? Employers working with Benefitfocus often identify payroll audit and reconciliation and accurate data exchange as two of the most significant sources of time and talent waste. Prior to this year’s open enrollment, employers and their advisers should identify solutions for their top time-consuming tasks and processes.

3) Design a plan that fits the workforce

Customization is often thought of as a costly endeavor, but Benefitfocus encourages employers to allow employees enough choices to make an informed decision. Options should also reflect the needs of your workforce. For example, an HSA can help attract and retain part time and benefits ineligible employees, including seasonal employees.

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4) Start communications planning early

Don’t let your communications plan be an afterthought, Benefitfocus says. Employers and their advisers should roll out any communications plan six months before the next open enrollment. So much time and effort go into benefits planning, employers should also make sure to communicate benefits in a way that’s relevant and timely to each associate, the firm says.

5) Everyone needs a little help sometimes

While employers and their advisers can typically handle the day-to-day concerns of a workforce, open enrollment presents unique challenges and an increased workload that may require additional help. Employers and their advisers should prepare for extra hands well in advance of open enrollment to ensure all resources are properly trained and ready to guide employees through the process of selecting and enrolling in a benefit plan.