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Employment Resources


By August 1, 2011No Comments

Companies devote a great deal of energy and countless working hours to meet the demands of end-of-year enrollment periods. Since the offering of quality benefits is a crucial aspect in keeping existing employees and attracting new employees, having a less than enthusiastic response to an open enrollment can be very distressing for employers. One thing that you, the employer, can do to improve enrollment results is thoroughly evaluate your current benefits and employee pool. Your offerings need to be a good fit for both your business and employees. Some employers will immediately find obvious indicators that their benefits package needs a major overhaul. Meanwhile, some will need to look for more subtle hints. Here are three common signals that it may be time to make some benefit changes:

  1. Workforce Demographic Changes. Any shift in the demographics of your employee pool can simultaneously shift insurance needs. Employers often find that this shift occurs every so often from nothing more than time elapsing. For example, the single college graduate that was hired five to ten years ago may now have a family and be interested in supplemental life insurance, day care accounts, flex time schedules, and such. A substantial change to your employment numbers, such as from adding a new department or gaining a competitor, can also signal that a change might be needed. You could qualify for better pricing on your benefits from simply having a larger employee pool.
  2. Direct and Indirect Employee Complaints. If employees are grumbling to you, your management team, or their co-workers that they aren’t satisfied with their benefit choices, or they indirectly let you know their dissatisfaction through poor enrollment results, then you need to determine the cause of the dissatisfaction and put your investment in employee benefits to better use.
  3. Rise in Costs. Take time to reassess your benefit package when the cost is constantly on the rise and anytime you question if you’re getting the most value for your benefit dollars. Good enrollment results require good planning. This planning should take place long before the open enrollment period arrives to best avoid a poor enrollment outcome. Some key measures to consider during the plan phase include the following:
    • Surveying employees and conducting focus groups are two excellent ways to determine what benefits your employees find most attractive. Of course, you aren’t going to be able to satisfy every need of every employee. However, the communication process can be used to construct a benefits package that’s more on target with the overall needs of your employees. It also shows employees that you care about their needs.
    • Meet with your benefits adviser to make sure that your benefits, such as medical and dental, are competitively priced. If not or you just want to see if you can get a better price, then you might begin the request for proposal process.
    • You should compare your offerings to what your main competitors are offering. It will be difficult for you to hang on to existing employees, much less attract new employees, if your competitor is offering a large selection of well-priced benefits and you aren’t.
    • It might be prudent to consider adding new benefits to your plan. Don’t let the dollar signs scare you away from new benefit offerings. There are supplemental benefits that can be offered on a 100% employee-paid basis. The addition of pre-tax flexible spending accounts for dependent day care or health care is another option. Even when employers aren’t contributing to the cost, studies have shown that employees typically appreciate these types of additional benefits just being available to them.
    • Establish a routine midyear review to see how each of your open enrollments go and to determine ways that future enrollment processes can run more smoothly. For example, you might review the effectiveness of the communication process, if there were better ways to help employees make good enrollment decisions, and the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of in-house and outside resources and technologies.

The evaluating and planning process may be tedious, but the benefits of a smoother running enrollment process and better enrollment turnout are certainly worth it for both you and your employees.