How will you survive the zombie apocalypse that is open enrollment? We all know that the undead don’t need braces, but could breaks in how you administer your benefits leave zombies on your company’s paid benefits? Research shows that the complexity of open enrollment is the top concern for employers and employees. Such intricacy can cause errors, additional costs, long processing time and an overall drain on your HR department. Don’t fall victim to this terrifying task; prepare yourself and your employees for survival.
One Company’s Horror Story
Zombies were feeding off health benefits at this Oklahoma City-based company – slowly overtaking the few remaining survivors in its HR department. The company unknowingly had failed to protect its resources when it began outsourcing some of its HR processes to an infected third party, causing numerous walkers to remain on company-paid benefits long after they were gone. The invasion ultimately cost the firm $160,000 in health benefits.
Failure to establish a protocol for reconciling monthly benefit plans could result in thousands of dollars lost or, in this case, a business being overrun by a hungry herd. Companies can’t live without clear and concise processes to ensure the reconciliation of benefits are done on time and accurately, nor can they let the fear of open-enrollment season catch them by surprise.
Planning for Attack
It’s coming! Not an all-out zombie attack like the aforementioned, but open-enrollment season, which to some HR professionals may feel the same. To prepare for both, you need a good plan.
First: Act quickly. When confronted by flesh-eating zombies, there’s no time to waste. Same goes when preparing for open enrollment. According to a survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Professionals, employers with less than 5,000 employees take three to seven months to prepare for enrollment. I’m sure Rick on The Walking Dead would love that kind of lead.
Second: Communication is key. Help your employees – or other survivors – make smart decisions regarding the benefits, or the options for survival, being offered. Ensure employees have access to carrier website links, policies, etc., and that you are educating them effectively on changes to their coverage as a result of health-care reform. Having a good communication plan will prevent an outbreak of misinformed employees – or further persons becoming infected.
Third: Don’t fall behind. We all know that wandering away from a group during an attack most likely results in death, which leads to becoming a flesh-eater. So why would you, as an HR professional, want to fall behind on reconciling enrollment, deductions and insurance billing? You don’t. Reconciliation reporting is an overwhelming task when so many steps exist and is stored in various places.
Find Your Sanctuary
Reduce your flight risk and stay alive by streamlining your benefits-administration process with an automated system. While many businesses have made the switch to online benefits administration and open enrollment, oftentimes the system utilized is not automated. Taking the single-database approach to benefits administration can reduce cycle time, cost per transaction and HR inquiries by 50 percent or more. It also will keep zombies from receiving benefits, keep the company in compliance and be the best resource for weathering the ol’ zombie apocalypse.
Original Artwork by: Tyler Kelting