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Employers’ migration to online benefits and communications systems has continued even during the recession. Organizations of all sizes are finding that such systems help them immediately save time and money.

However, employers aren’t the only ones that benefit from the move away from manual and paper-based systems.  Here are four ways online benefits enrollment and communications software can benefit your workers:

  • Streamlines the process. An online system greatly rbenefits enrollment and communications softwareeduces the complexity and paperwork in managing benefits. This benefit is especially pronounced when a company has employees in multiple locations. The Container Store, a home organization and storage retailer with thousands of employees across the U.S., successfuly responded to this challenge by implementing an online system. “Before, it was forms, faxing and filing,” says Claudine Tudgay, payroll director at the company, said in an article in HR Magazine. “We were doing everything at the corporate office and shipping [benefits information] to each store.”
  • Reduces errors. Manual systems are more vulnerable to errors than their online counterparts, HR professionals say. It’s all too easy to misread someone’s handwriting -- or lose a key form or document altogether. With an online enrollment system, choices can be made quickly and easily by employers or employees, as appropriate. There’s a permanent record of all changes, whether made by the worker or benefits administrator. Online systems can be synced up with carrier’s systems, eliminating yet another step where human error can creep in. Fewer errors translates to workers’ greater sense of satisfaction with the benefits program, which extends to their employer overall.
  • Improves communication with other stakeholders. While benefits are directly attached to your worker, decisions about them are often made with significant input from others in their households. Because of this, workers increasingly expect well-designed benefit enrollment systems they can access from anywhere.  Spouses, parents and even adult children may have a need to access information about your benefits programs, which makes a paper-based employee benefits system problematic. Workers may a lso want to discuss their benefits options with their financial adviser,  a process that can be smoother if they can review the choices together.
  • Provides timely access to a ccurate information. Besides being costly to produce, paper benefits materials are also vulnerable to becoming outdated within a matter of weeks. In contrast, online communications can be quickly updated in response to changes in the regulatory environment. (See our previous post, “Keeping Up With What PPACA Means for Employers” for examples of such changes.) If workers can access accurate information in real-time, they are less likely to need to contact your benefits team individually -- or more worrisome, go outside the company for information that may or may not be accurate to their situation.

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For more than 25 years Winston Benefits has been providing employers with technology solutions and high touch human services that streamline enrollment, communuication and benefits administration for group medical and voluntary benefits programs.

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