With open enrollment for 2022 in the rearview mirror and the new year underway, now is a good time to ensure employees understand their benefits and to discuss with any benefits partners—such as insurance brokers and third-party advisors—what worked well and what should be adjusted for future open enrollments.
Checking In with Employees
Veena Yelamanchili, vice president of benefits service at BenefitMall, a Dallas-based benefits brokerage firm, suggests that HR teams take these post-enrollment steps:
- Confirm employee account access. Most benefits packages now are accessed and managed by employees, either through an employee benefits portal or via online accounts with individual benefits providers. Ask workers if they are able to log in to and navigate through these websites for their 2022 benefits or if they need help doing so.
- Follow up on ID cards. Employers should follow up with their workers to ensure that any new ID cards have been received for health, dental, vision and other insurance benefits.
- Check individual pay stubs. Encourage employees to check their January pay stubs to confirm the correct amount is being deducted for the plans they enrolled in, such as 401(k)s, health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts and commuter benefits.
- Ask for employee feedback on open enrollment. While open enrollment is still fresh in their minds, ask employees for feedback on the process and experience.
"By focusing on these tasks, employers can identify and address issues early in the year and ensure employees have the support they need to feel confident in their benefits," Yelamanchili said.
Questions to Ask Benefits Partners
Eamonn Brady, formerly vice president at Winston, a Manasquan, N.J.-based benefits administration firm, suggested that HR managers ask service providers for their perspective on how open enrollment went. Areas to discuss include:
What went well and what could have been better?
Talk to your benefits partners about what changes worked and which ones didn't turn out as well, and why, based on the data they collected and their observations. Evaluate enrollment numbers and review general feedback and concerns. Also gather feedback from other internal stakeholders and leaders.
How can you help us increase engagement while controlling costs going forward?
Work with your partners to find areas to invest in to drive employee engagement during future enrollment periods. The discussions could lead to opportunities to streamline, outsource and control costs.
What changes do we need to prepare for in the year ahead?
Benefits partners can help you to prepare for the inevitable changes ahead, including new laws, regulations and taxes, and to prepare plan amendments that may be necessary to remain compliant with these changes. By opening the dialogue with your partners early, you can be ready to address these events.
What best practices are other companies using that we can incorporate?
Benefits partners are in the know about your industry peers, so be sure to seek their insight into strategies other companies are using to do more with less and to improve the overall open enrollment experience. Get their insight into additional benefits you should consider to increase employee engagement and satisfaction.
"Document the feedback you've received and share it with your teams and other internal stakeholders as you start to think about planning for next year," Brady advised.
Related SHRM Article:
An Open Enrollment 'Look Back' Captures What You've Learned, SHRM Online, January 2020