For many small businesses, 2020 has been a difficult year. However, for those businesses that are continuing to make it work, open enrollment poses an interesting opportunity and potentially quite a challenge as well. As employees demand different types of benefits than they’ve had in the past – think more paid time off – employers need to think about the best way to get them through this year’s open enrollment, successfully and effectively.
Most groups will not be holding in-person enrollment meetings. Some may hold enrollment meetings via video conference. But others may simply opt for an all online experience. If that’s what you decide, here are a few tips to make this year’s enrollment go smoothly.
Make sure your enrollment platform includes education in a variety of mediums.
Everyone learns differently – even online. Just ask two different generations how they would learn a new skill or look up information via the internet. Some would watch videos. Others would read reviews or articles. Yet another set would go directly to social media to see what their friends or family say. If you want to appeal to and engage with all age groups and technology levels, you’re wise to choose an enrollment platform that educates in a variety of ways and lets the employee choose the route that works best for them.
Contract with a knowledgeable customer support center.
Some of your employees may not fully understand their options and need help deciding on what’s best. Even if your online enrollment platform is simple and easy to understand, you’ll still want the back-up of a support center that employees can call if they need assistance. Sometimes, it’s easier for employees to decide what they need by talking it through with someone who can explain them and can help place them in the best plan.
Choose a streamlined process.
For small businesses without a dedicated HR team, having a powerful, streamlined enrollment process is essential. You may find the expertise you need in an outside company who can provide the infrastructure, services and counsel needed to make your enrollment a success. Choosing a company that specializes in helping small businesses like yours, will help you select the right plan for your employees’ needs – one that fits your financial needs as well. Then, you’ll want to work with a provider that is willing to adapt to your changing needs, with a process that happens quickly and effortlessly.
Make sure the platform is inclusive.
If not all your systems work well with each other, you’re not alone. That can be an issue for many small businesses. But you can make sure that your employee benefits platform – and the enrollment site – will be flexible enough to include all of your benefits, so your employees don’t have to go on multiple sites to enroll in all of their benefits. For example, you probably won’t find one insurance carrier that offers all of the benefits you want or need. But, you might find a carrier who’s enrollment site will work with other carriers, so your employees can visit one site to enroll in everything from health insurance to ancillary benefits like life, disability and pet insurance.
The end of the year can be a busy time for small businesses and may be especially so this year, as we head into our first fall of COVID-19. But, by taking a few steps now to ensure that you have the right online enrollment platform and support in place, you can help your employees enroll smoothly and set your business up for a productive and successful 2021.