Tackling a Newly Implemented Benefit Enrollment Platform: Overcoming the Learning Curve
Once you have made the decision to invest time, money, and resources into a new benefit enrollment platform, to achieve your business goals and get the maximum value from your investment, you must be ready to adapt to learning a new process. With any new benefit enrollment platform, there will be challenges. Here are a few suggestions on how to overcome the learning curve and minimize those challenges to make the transition as smooth as possible.
- Be patient. Whether you moved from paper enrollment to online enrollment or from one online system to another, during the transition period, it is easy to become frustrated. As you learn the new system and work through the challenges, remind yourself why you implemented a new enrollment platform and remember all new systems take time to iron out the kinks. Being patient and taking the time to learn the features and benefits of your new benefit platform will pay off in the future.
- Understand the flow of information. If vendor integration connections have been implemented, in addition to understanding the new platform, you also need to understand how the information will flow to and from other systems and the timing of the flow. Knowing how long it will take for the information to not only get to the carrier but also when it will be updated in the carrier’s system is critical when employees have questions about their coverage. Additionally, if the benefit platform is integrated with a payroll system from which data flows over, understanding the timing of this integration is important to managing your HR processes accurately. Whether you have EDI files in place or a single sign-on directly to a carrier sight, it is important to understand how and when this data will be updated and what steps are involved in the data getting from point A to point B.
- Train your HR team. Those who will work with the new system will need enough time to learn the system prior to rolling it out to all employees. To assist with training your HR team, user acceptance testing is very helpful. This is the process of providing specific test scenarios and allowing your HR team to add test users, walk through various enrollment scenarios, run reporting, and allow them to become comfortable with the complexities and functionality of the site. By training your HR team first, they can better assist employees as they become acquainted with using the new platform. Your HR team is also very valuable in identifying site and data errors, so any corrections can be completed before you roll it out to everyone.
- Communicating the change to employees. Before training employees on the system, first, determine how and when the change will be communicated. Many benefit enrollment platforms have a self-service option so that employees can make updates to basic demographic information. They should receive training on what changes they can make on their own and what would need to be communicated to HR instead. Second, it is important to engage your employees with the roll out of the new system. There are several ways to guarantee employee engagement, especially if you plan to use this as your primary communication for all benefits and HR changes and inquiries. One suggestion to engage employees is to offer donated gift cards and carrier trinkets for the first several people who enroll successfully. Offering fun challenges or contests to get them in and using the site can increase participation and decrease the amount of time reminding your employees to log in. Finally, effectively communicate the rules and timeframes for enrollment. When moving from paper to an online benefit enrollment platform, there may be less flexibility for those who miss their enrollment period window from when they previously could just drop off forms to someone in HR.
- Take advantage of all the system has to offer. Once you’ve successfully implemented new benefit technology, it is important to learn about the additional features you can take advantage of that you may not have initially considered. Most platforms include basic enrollment and document management. Others may offer additional services and features such as employee onboarding, electronic notifications, online time off requests and management, as well as fun employee engaging features like employee recognition and online surveys. Research and explore the creative ways your new benefit enrollment platform can work for you and become a beneficial part of daily life for your employees.
- Keep up to date on changes. Benefit technology is a constantly moving target. From government regulations to technological enhancements, benefit enrollment platforms are constantly changing and improving. Staying up to date on regulation changes, system updates, and suggesting enhancements to your system will help to avoid feeling like your system is not keeping up with your changing needs. Also, keeping employees informed about changes and updates is important so they don’t fall behind or get frustrated. Make sure you have a communication plan in place for these updates.
- Enlist assistance from the experts. Finally, enlist the assistance of those who are experts with your system. This can include implementation, system updates, renewal updates, user testing, employer/employee manuals, training, etc. At Providence Technology Solutions, we have experts on many benefit enrollment platforms who are ready to assist you in taking advantage of all your new system has to offer as well as maintaining and updating your system long-term, so you can ensure to always get the biggest benefit from the technology in which you invested.
For more information, contact the Providence Technology Solutions team at 904-719-8264 or email to INFO@THEPTSTEAM.COM. We can help with all your benefit administration needs.
Author: Shelley Pinegar