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More than 50 Percent of Employees Confused About Open Enrollment

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Open enrollment can strike fear in the hearts and minds of many. Because let’s face it: Benefits can be confusing. According to the 2014 AFLAC Workforces Report, 73 percent of employees think health care reform is too complicated to understand.

For HR professionals, this statistic is a huge concern. Perhaps the reason for this confusion is a gap in communication between HR and employees. How did this happen? How can HR keep employees engaged? The solution is quite simple: Educate, educate, educate.

A 2014 study by MetLife shows employees who find their benefits communication to be effective are more than twice as likely to say they are very loyal to their company. As the HR professional, you want to ensure that your employees understand their benefits and how to enroll. Not only does this make them happy, but it creates less of a headache for you later.

Before Open Enrollment

Take a Survey

Do you know what your employees really want to know about benefits enrollment? Maybe you thought you did, but there may be more to the story that you don’t know because you are not asking. In order to find out their interests, why not survey them. Surveys are a great way to gather the truth. Many times employees are afraid to express the way they actually feel; surveys offer them an outlet to express their concerns without being tied to anything. Ask them about their current satisfaction with the plan? What improvements are necessary? Now would even be a good time to find out how they prefer to receive information regarding their benefits plan.

Start Communicating Early and Often

Once you’ve surveyed your employees you can begin to create a communication plan. The key here is: Don’t wait until the last minute. Make sure you give them ample amount of time to prepare. Keep the lines of communication open between HR and employees well before open enrollment even begins. It is important to keep employees informed on start and end dates, as well as give them access to the proper tools and resources necessary to make informed decisions.

So, what’s the best way to communicate this to your employees? Traditionally, company messages were written on break room boards or plastered on posters throughout the hallways. While these methods remain widely used, so does the increasing trend to alert employees through emails, reminders on your company website or, provided you have it through Paycom, the Employee Self-Service (ESS) portal. With the ESS tool, employees have 24/7 access to their benefit information from any location. That way if they would like to discuss with a spouse about their options they can do so right from their living rooms. Regardless of what tools you use, find the right outlet for you and start informing!

During Enrollment

Now that employees are aware that open enrollment is approaching, you need to inform them of what changes have been made to the plans, what options are available to them and why they should consider each. Commonly, companies are taking the mail option route to inform their employees.

With this method, companies can package all necessary printed materials along with registration forms and other important paperwork and send through the mail. According to a MetLife study, of the 49 percent of employees who reported receiving such an envelope, 72 percent found the information helpful.

Additional Ways to Reach Out

While the mail option is a great way to reach the masses, it lacks in personalization. Plus, a lot of information at once can be overwhelming. Rather, consider:

  • Posting benefit information right on your website
  • Creating a benefits calculator
  • Conducting seminars or information nights
  • Hosting webinars
  • Encouraging employees to use the app (granted your benefit provider offers one)

You may wish to include one or all of these options into your communication strategy. Each offers a different perspective for employees and may be helpful in explaining the otherwise daunting information that is benefits.

Open enrollment can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. By focusing on communication, education and personalization, the enrollment process will run more efficiently. Your employees will feel confident, making you, the HR professional, feel relieved.

Paycom helps make your job easier in many areas including (but not limited to) open enrollment and benefits management, Click here to find out more. 

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Author Bio: As a Human Resource Professional with over 20 years of experience, Jenny has extensive experience in management, mentoring, policy development and recruiting. Jenny's team player mentality and leadership abilities make her an elite HR Director who is always on top of the latest HR trends. She relentlessly directs associates and executives to achieve their maximum potential for both themselves and their companies.

ACA Awaits Repeal or Repair

ACA Awaits Repeal or Repair

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ACA Awaits Repeal or Repair

After his electoral win in November, President Donald Trump, buoyed by Republican majorities in the House and the Senate, vowed to act quickly to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Pres. Trump has now been in office for a month, and Republicans have not yet voted to repeal the ACA, and have not agreed upon a potential replacement, leaving the date of “repeal and replace” somewhere in the uncertain future. stethoscope

Early strategies

When the current Congress convened in January, it moved quickly to begin the “repeal” portion of “repeal and replace” by passing a budget resolution. Because the GOP does not have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and cannot count on votes from Democrats to repeal the ACA, Republicans have decided to utilize a procedure known as budget reconciliation to dismantle it.

By using this procedure, Congress can pass a bill to repeal the ACA with a simple majority in the Senate. The reconciliation instructions in the budget resolution directed various committees to come up with proposals to repeal the ACA and submit them to the budget committees of the House and Senate. The reconciliation proposals would then be crafted into a bill by the budget committees, and the reconciliation bill would then need to pass both the House and the Senate before being signed by the President.

Potential outcomes

However, the provisions of the bill passed this way must target elements of the ACA that have a federal budgetary effect. Therefore, the ACA provisions that allow children to stay on their parents’ insurance through age 26 and the requirement that insurers cover preexisting conditions could not be eliminated using this procedure. Nor could the individual and employer mandates be eliminated in this way, but the amounts of the penalties could be reduced to zero, eliminating them in all but name.

Repeal or repair?

Republicans originally called for reconciliation proposals to be submitted to the budget committees by January 27, but that date has come and gone. Congressional Republicans continue to work on “repeal and replace,” but many of them have begun talking about “repair” of the ACA, rather than repeal, as they recognize the difficulty of legislating in this area.

In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on February 5, President Trump said that replacement could take until 2018.

O’Reilly asked “Can Americans in 2017 expect a new health care plan rolled out by the Trump administration this year?”

Trump responded, “We’re going to be putting it [the new healthcare plan] in fairly soon, I think that … by the end of the year at least the rudiments but we should have something within the year and the following year.”

Employer mandates remain in place

One thing that has become clear during the first month of the Trump presidency is that repealing the ACA is a much tougher prospect than many had thought. Despite the uncertainty with regard to the long-term future of the ACA, the current reality is that the ACA and the employer mandate remain the law of the land, and employers should continue to comply with the law’s requirements. Applicable Large Employers should file IRS Forms 1094 and 1095 no later than the March 31 if filing electronically, or February 28, if filing paper forms. Forms 1095-C must be furnished to employees no later than March 2. Large employers should continue to comply with the employer mandate, measure their full-time employees, and offer minimum essential coverage providing minimum value to those employees and their dependents.

Paycom will continue to monitor executive and Congressional action regarding the ACA closely and stands ready to help our clients maintain compliance.

 

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Posted in ACA, Blog, Compliance, Featured

Erin Maxwell

by Erin Maxwell


Author Bio: As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Erin Maxwell monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal level, focusing on health and employee benefits laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. She previously served as assistant general counsel at Asset Servicing Group in Oklahoma City. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Outside of work, Maxwell enjoys politics, historical mysteries and spending time with her family.

Learning Management Systems 101: Rethinking Your Approach to Employee Training

Learning Management Systems 101: Rethinking Your Approach to Employee Training

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Learning Management Systems 101: Rethinking Your Approach to Employee Training

Learning Management Systems 101 is a weekly blog series exploring how employers can rethink traditional employee training and move toward e-learning solutions, which are faster, easier to access, and more cost effective. Rethinking Your Approach to Employee Training is the second post of the series.

 Rethinking Your Approach to Employee Training

Employers who understand that training is a vital contributor to organizational growth are continuously challenged to deliver training that is practical for the company and beneficial to employees. Consequently, there is a need for employers to rethink how knowledge is delivered, accessed and shared across the organization. Here are six factors to consider.

  1. Training Should Align with a Direct Business Need

Training will not solve job performance problems if the real issue lies elsewhere – such as employee motivation, compensation systems or job design. For training to work, there needs to be an association between the training itself and the reason for the training.

Learn more about how to propel your business growth through employee learning.

For example, a banking sales representative may have superb selling skills but poor product knowledge. Through appropriate product knowledge training, he or she may achieve a good balance of product knowledge and selling skills.

Therefore, it is important to perform a detailed analysis of the issue before leveraging training as the solution.

  1. Organizations Are Progressively Adopting Online Training

Classroom-based (traditional) training can be impractical and expensive for employers to implement. Among other things, there are instructor costs, venue costs and course material costs to consider with traditional training. For these reasons, more and more employers are turning to e-learning (online learning) solutions.

Workflow Friendly

According to a study by Brandon Hall Group, it typically takes employees 40 to 60 percent less time to study a particular material via e-learning than in a traditional classroom setting. This is due to employees being able to access training online whenever they need it, without interrupting their workflow.

Boosts Retention

The Research Institute of America concluded that e-learning boosts retention rates by 25 to 60 percent, compared to retention rates of 8 to 10 percent with traditional training. This is because e-learning employees have more control over the learning process and are able to revisit training as needed.

The University of the Potomac stated that 67 percent of college instructors believe online media – such as blogs, video and podcasts – are necessary teaching tools.

  1. On-Demand and Mobile Learning is Growing

On-demand training does not include an instructor. Instead, employees access training on their own, any time, from any device with an internet connection – such as a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. According to Chief Learning Officer magazine, most organizations (58 percent) prefer to use on-demand learning for compliance training, compared to 12 percent who prefer in-person, instructor-led training. In addition, one out of three chief learning officers use mobile devices to deliver compliance training.

Globally, the mobile learning market is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of over 36 percent from 2015 to 2020 – and in 2014, the U.S. remained the leading purchaser of mobile learning technology.

  1. Blended Training May Be More Fitting

Depending on your industry and employees’ roles, online training alone may not be sufficient. In this case, a blended approach, which combines traditional face-to-face learning with e-learning, may be ideal. According to a study published by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, blended learning for health professionals appears to be more effective than (or at least as effective as) traditional instruction.

  1. Modern Learners are Visual with Short Attention Spans

Learners today tend to have packed schedules, short attention spans and an attachment to their mobile device. The majority are also visual learners. Studies estimate that visual learners make up approximately 65 percent of the U.S. population. These pupils need to see what they are absorbing, preferring bite-sized training – such as videos requiring no more than two to five minutes each – over lengthy training sessions.

  1. Company-Wide Information Efficiently Disseminated

Dispersing information to employees across different departments and locations via the traditional training method can be time consuming and financially strenuous. A more feasible option may be an e-learning platform, such as a learning management system, capable of quickly delivering company-wide information to relevant employees, thereby keeping them on the same page while lowering training costs.

Be sure to check out the first Learning Management Systems 101 blog post about the evolution of corporate learning

 

 

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Posted in Blog, Featured, HR Management, Learning Management, Talent Management

Stacey Pezold

by Stacey Pezold


Author Bio: Mrs. Pezold has served as Paycom’s Chief Operating Officer since March 2015 and previously served as Paycom’s Executive Vice President of Operations after joining Paycom in 2005. In the last eight years, Mrs. Pezold has served as Paycom’s Executive Vice President, Director of Corporate Training and Regional Manager. Mrs. Pezold has over 11 years of leadership and training experience. Mrs. Pezold earned her Bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University.

How to Find Your (HR Tech) Soul Mate

How to Find Your (HR Tech) Soul Mate

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How to Find Your (HR Tech) Soul Mate


Shopping for the right HR software for your business is not unlike dating. But with no apps or online match sites for human capital management (HCM), how do you compare and sort through all those vendors vying to win your company’s heart?

How do you sort through the suitors courting your company for the vendor of your dreams? Learn more with this free webinar. 

According to a Bersin by Deloitte study, 61 percent of HR professionals plan to replace their HR software within the next 18 months. If you are one of those professionals getting back on the market, here are three tips to get you started:

Tip 1: Find the total package.

Are you unsatisfied with your current HR processes? If your existing provider is unable to meet all your needs, it’s time to trade in that zero for a hero.

Your dream HCM vendor should be able to meet all of your desires … as related to the employee life cycle, that is, which includes payroll, talent acquisition, time and labor management, HR information management, talent management and benefits administration.

Before committing to a vendor, be sure to understand the difference between a single-source solution, aka Boris, and a single-application solution, aka Jeff. Only one truly can be the total package.

Boris, the single-source solution, provides your company a set of multiple programs integrated together, which Boris may or may not have developed himself. Integrating multiple, third-party programs can lead to your employees entering information, usernames and passwords over and over again. Not to mention, Boris has given you the challenge of products and programs not syncing correctly and the never-ending present of frustrating reporting limitations.

Jeff, on the other hand, offers a single application. This means employees only enter information one time. Repeat: one time. All data updates in real time across all products and programs. Reporting is comprehensive and consistent. The data workflow? Seamless.

 

Who would you rather see again? Boris or Jeff? No matter who you choose, don’t settle too early; you only want to implement or switch technology vendors if it’s going to make life better. And we have two more tips to consider.

Tip 2: Good manners are essential.

Are Boris and Jeff thoughtful, insightful, self-reliant, analytical and compliant with the ever-changing state and federal employer regulations? During your vendor comparisons, be sure to remember that the best HR tech provides one database of employee records to help you:

  • be more efficient with process automations that reduces paperwork and manual data entry
  • produce insightful analytics that track and report on your company’s unique workforce trends and performance catalysts critical to managing labor costs and implementing growth
  • empower employees with the ability to self-manage transactions and find answers to questions, which reduce the demand on payroll and HR staff
  • reduce exposure by automating compliance processes and accurately tracking and reporting on data critical to meeting government-required regulations

If the vendor courting you seems to be the total package and has impeccable manners, then congratulations! It sounds like you’re on the path to true love. But how well do you really know this vendor?

Tip 3: Perform a background check.

Why be in a relationship if not to be cherished and made to feel special, safe and secure? In this day and age, you can’t be too careful about who you have dinner with or with which vendor you decide to share highly sensitive confidential records.

Even though one may have caught your eye, do your due diligence. In the past few years, federal officials have prosecuted at least two dozen payroll firms that allegedly pocketed more than $300 million in taxes from their clients. Just as you wouldn’t get into a car with someone you don’t know, only share your payroll records with a vendor that has a solid reputation, financial stability and staying power.

Consider this due diligence checklist:

  • audited financials
  • long history of profitability
  • bonded for a minimum of $100 million
  • SSAE 16/SOC 1 audit report
  • ISO 9001 certification
  • proprietary software

If your Jeff or Boris has passed these three checkpoints, then you are on your way to finding your HCM soul mate. At this point, we hope to have steered you away from any shady characters who are only after your money, not your best interests.

Want four more tips? Then sign up for our free webinar on “Finding Your Soul Mate in Human Capital Management” and check out its accompanying infographic.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Cyber Security, Document Management, Employee Engagement, Featured, HR Management, Learning Management, Payroll, Pre-Employment, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management

Emily R. Tate

by Emily R. Tate


Author Bio: Emily Rothrock Tate is an award-winning public relations professional with more than a decade of experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. In her role as a PR specialist, she writes about complex issues and trends that today’s HR professionals face, and serves as steward of Paycom’s corporate giving initiative. An honoree of OKC Biz’s Forty Under 40 and ionOklahoma’s 30/30 Next Gen awards, she serves on the board of Oklahoma City’s Plaza District Association. Outside of work, Tate enjoys science-fiction novels, volunteering in the arts community, cooking and spending time with her husband and son.

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