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What to Know When You're Implementing a New Benefits Enrollment SolutionImplementing new benefits enrollment software can yield significant improvements for many companies, not only helping you control costs but also making it easier for employees to pick the benefits they want.

Technology also allows benefits managers to be more strategic and focus on the exceptions or unusual cases by minimizing manual tasks. The right software even helps ensure you’re offering the best benefits to your employees.

If you’re planning on improving your benefits programs and offering by adopting new tools and solutions, there are a few things to understand to help you make the most out of this investment.

Clearly Define Your Rules and Eligibility Requirements

Document when you can and start early.

To keep your implementation of a benefits enrollment solution on track, you’ll want to look through your existing and new benefits to paint a clear picture of eligibility. The clearer you can define who is eligible and when they’re eligible, the smoother things go.

Work with your team to write down all of the differences among the classes of benefits you provide too. Look across the entire workforce to see where eligibility requirements change or if restrictions mean certain benefits only apply to certain people.

For example, if you have a set of employees who’ve been with you for an extended period, they may be grandfathered into different programs or benefits. You might offer them long-term disability, but no longer provide it for anyone hired after a specific date. Clearly documenting these rules and differences allows your benefits enrollment solution to operate smoothly and accurately automate onboarding or other tasks.

Ask Providers and Partners for Help Early

Solutions are designed around how you structure your benefits. So, knowing your requirements and how you provide benefits is vital.

Unfortunately, it can be challenging to get that together sometimes. Many companies struggle with defining benefits for older, grandfathered populations. Your partner will be well- versed in building a system to accommodate your standard employee as well as these exceptions, but they rely on your information and clarity.

If you’re not sure the best way to describe these populations or are unclear of all the information that might be needed to address them adequately, talk with your partner. Together, you’ll be able to find the right approach and data to apply things appropriately, without forgetting grandfathered or other special groups.

The system can only take the rules you give it and automate based on them. The better you can articulate them, the smoother the process and the less back-and-forth between you and a solutions provider. This will ultimately reduce costs.

Plus, discussing these with your partner earlier can help you understand related needs. Your solution will likely have technological resource requirements that come with their own processes. At the simplest, you’ll need the ability to take data from partners and integrate it with your systems, like payroll.

If you’re providing medical benefits, for example, there’s a payroll deduction involved. The benefits enrollment solution will need to communicate with your payroll system, so it knows how to process paychecks based on the benefits people elect. This process will look a little different depending on your system and your provider, so discussing requirements early can help you prepare sooner and better manage the scope of the project.

Tell Your Team the Reasons for the New Solution

New solutions can automate a wide range of tasks, but they’re only helpful if people know how to use them. A change management plan can help you determine who needs to learn the system and how you can follow-up to ensure the solution is being used.

You’ll want to break out of the mindset of “it’s always been this way” so that you achieve the savings and efficiency improvements of the solution. If your team knows why you’re adding this software and sees how it improves their workday — like dramatically reducing data entry — they’re more likely to use it.

Today, there’s no benefit to using manual processes when you can automate. So, we always like to say that it’s worth being honest about what’s hard for you, and what your team wishes could be easier. It’s the job of solutions providers, like us, to take that and make your life a little easier and better.

Start and End with Communication

The critical piece to the benefits enrollment software puzzle is your ability to communicate.
Communicate with your team about eligibility and offered benefits, discuss your needs with your technology partner, and talk with your team about how the solution can benefit them to encourage its use, and positive ROI.

The good news is that a technology partner is an excellent communications partner too because they have experience reaching managers and leaders as well as your regular staff. Your partner will help ensure your benefits are clearly defined so that employees know what’s offered, give your HR teams the workflows they need to enter things correctly, and discuss best practices for using each custom system.

At Winston, we can do this strategizing with you to reach your teams effectively, to encourage participation in the benefits you’re offering as a value-add to your employees.

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