Why Do Employees Make Bad Decisions at Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is a stressful time for employees and human resources. With the wealth of information available, it can be frustrating to see employees make poor decisions regarding their health care. Every employee has unique needs and there is often a plan that corresponds to their specific health situations. Unfortunately, 80% of Americans pick a health care plan that is incongruous with their health needs.

The reasons for this are obvious when considering the statistics:

  • 83% of employees spend less than an hour researching their options for open enrollment
  • 92% select the same benefits options as the year before
  • A meager 4% know the meaning of health care terminology such as deductible, coinsure, and out-of-pocket maximum

Considering open enrollment is so important, it seems downright irresponsible for employees to be so flippant about their health care options. However, it’s not a lack of care that drives their poor decision making; it’s stress and intimidation. The multitude of options and the confusing terms overwhelm employees so they default to whatever option looks most similar to what they had the year before.

The problem with mismatching benefits with actual needs is that employees end up over- or under-insured. Excessive insurance can lead employees to seek unnecessary tests and procedures that inflate claims and increase the cost of healthcare for the entire organization. Limited insurance can bankrupt an employee if they fall ill and need more than basic care. They may also avoid seeking care altogether and try to weather an illness without assistance. This can lead to prolonged illness, absenteeism, and reduced workplace morale.

How to Fight Mismatched Benefits

Human Resources can drastically improve open enrollment outcomes by following the lead of industry titans like Amazon and Netflix. While healthcare is worlds apart from ecommerce or media services, there is an appeal of having a recommended for you option. Amazon and Netflix do this well and, as a result, see increased engagement. If HR took this approach to open enrollment, they could help employees shop for benefits that best match their needs.

Provide a simple survey to learn an employee’s most pressing needs and then make recommendations from there. Providing employees with a few options that correspond to their health situation is much less daunting than presenting them with an overwhelming number of plans and benefits offerings. To learn more about improving your employee benefits program, contact the experts at The Reilly Company.

Leveraging Employee Benefits to Attract and Retain Talent

With the competition in the job market showing no signs of slowing down, employers need to step up their game to become an employer of choice. Obtaining this status means talented job candidates want to work for the company, and the existing workforce wants to stay with the company. While recruitment is important, most employers have figured out that element of the equation. Now, they need to turn their attention to retention.

Employee retention is so important because of the high cost associated with turnover. When employees leave, it will cost their employer 21% of their annual salary to replace them. Keeping employees engaged is one way to keep them happy. However, having a high-quality benefits package is one of the best ways to retain talented employees.

Employee Benefits Strategy

Knowing that a superior benefits package can retain employees and implementing one are two very different matters. Employers may have questions regarding how many benefits to include, how detailed they should be, and so on.

  • Matching benefits to employees’ needs. Benefits packages muddle the debate of quality versus quantity. While a one-size fits all approach to benefits won’t work for most workforces, throwing every benefit option that exists at new employees will only confuse them. Employers need to create a benefits package that matches employees’ wants. For example, pet insurance is popular among animal lovers, but it may be an unnecessary addition to a benefits package if most employees don’t have pets.
  • Tailoring benefits to employee’s lifestyle. This may seem like a repeat of the above, but it delves much deeper than that. Employees now expect to see what were once voluntary products and more. For example, if a benefits package doesn’t offer short-term disability, life insurance, coverage for critical illness, and more, it’s likely falling behind the competition. Not only that, employees are now seeking benefits options that improve their work-life balance. This means seeing options for flexible work arrangements, parental leave, and even telemedicine.
  • Guiding employees through the process. Selecting the right benefits is an intimidating prospect. Helping employees determine which healthcare offerings are best for them is crucial to their long-term happiness. If they feel misled by their employer, they are likely to harbor resentment and even begin looking for other job opportunities with clearer benefits packages.

A business’ employee benefits offerings can mean the difference between a thriving workforce and a tumultuous one. If your company is experiencing high turnover rates, your benefits package could be the problem. Contact the experts at The Reilly Company to learn more about reducing your costs while improving your employee benefits offerings.

How to Prevent Benefits Enrollment Catastrophes

Human Resources (HR) employees have a lot to juggle. With open enrollment being one of their more important and stressful tasks, it is vital that HR understands the common pitfalls for employees trying to sign up for health insurance. Knowing what issues trip up employees can help HR professionals implement solutions and strategies to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Missing Deadlines

Employees miss open enrollment deadlines for a variety of reasons. While HR professionals can’t do much about employees who procrastinate, they can fine-tune their approach to help employees in unusual job situations. For example, truck drivers spend a significant portion of their time on the road. It’s possible for them to be gone from their homes for weeks at a time, leaving little opportunity to address other responsibilities.

Many companies mail home reminders about open enrollment or send out emails. However, for truck drivers, this can be problematic. They can miss mailed information due to being on the road. They can also miss emails since they can’t check their smartphones while driving. By the time they reach their destination, a mountain of other pressing emails could be burying the open enrollment notification. Another problem is confusing websites. Even if the driver does realize the open enrollment deadline is soon, he or she may run out of time from not understanding how to navigate the benefit’s website.

How to Prevent It

Truck drivers are just one example of the people who miss open enrollment due to outside circumstances. Any individual that travels often for work or works unusual hours could wind up in the above scenario. To prevent this from happening HR can put the following practices into place:

  • Don’t add to the email clutter. Sending email reminders may seem like a great communication strategy, but it’s easy for employees to overlook messages mired within dozens of other daily emails. Instead, HR should take a note from marketing strategist and build a communication plan that is compelling and hard to miss. For example, employees receive a lot of junk mail and can overlook an email notification. However, it’s easy to connect with Millennials and Generation Z over apps or social media. Consider sending out notifications via a company app or social platforms to reach them. Baby Boomers and Generation X still prefer face-to-face interactions, but a phone call can suffice as well. Get their attention in person or over the phone to ensure they remain cognizant of open enrollment.
  • Build an app. Employees who are on the go need solutions they can access anywhere—this means a mobile app. The app should include benefits information, simple explanations for various plans, clear notifications about deadlines, and help tools in case they run into trouble.
  • Improve the user experience. Technology baffles some employees. While this isn’t usually the case for younger generations, an outdated or difficult to navigate website can confuse them just as easily as it can Boomers and Gen Xers. To address this, HR needs to make sure their website is intuitive. If employees have to follow several instructions or navigate to multiple different pages, they are likely to put off the task, forget it, or do it wrong.

Employees who miss open enrollment or don’t understand their options can end up uninsured or underinsured. Healthcare is of vital importance to employees across the board, and failing to obtain is erodes their trust in their company as well as their morale. Contact the experts at The Reilly Company to learn more about the importance of employee benefits.

3 Critical Components of a Robust Multigenerational Benefits Package

Many businesses are reworking their benefits offerings to appeal to millennials and Generation Z. The idea holds merit considering the vast majority of individuals entering the workforce come from these two generations. However, ignoring the existing workforce’s needs can spell disaster for businesses. What appeals to a millennial may seem trivial to a baby boomer or a Gen Xer.

This creates quite the conundrum for businesses. Younger generations are quicker to move on to greener pastures, costing companies $7-$14 thousand to replace them. However, older generations house immeasurable knowledge that businesses cannot afford to lose. That is why companies need to meet the diverse needs of every generation.

Understanding Each Generation’s Needs

There are some common benefits that every generation wants and expects from their employer. Some of the most popular include health insurance, vision and dental options, retirement planning, vacation time, wellness programs and flexible work hours. However, how each generation approaches these benefits differs. What one generation considers a fantastic wellness program may be worthless to another. The following are several tips to help businesses deliver benefits that appeal to all workers.

  1. Offer benefits that encompass all of the generations. Continuing with the employee wellness example above, it is simple for companies to avoid such pitfalls. While almost all employees wish to better themselves in some way (i.e. lose weight, quit smoking, etc.), not every generation wants the same program. Before implementing wellness programs at random, companies should ask their employees what types of programs they would enjoy most. Once an employer has a general idea of what his or her staff wants, he or she can develop a multifaceted benefits package that offers something for everybody.
  2. Remain cognizant of each generation’s lifestyle needs. Many millennials value the ability to work from home or having flexible start times to their workday. While most generations approve of this flexibility, the reasons why they need it are vastly different. Millennials and Generation Z staff members enjoy working from the comfort of their own home. Some are still in college and prefer an earlier or later start time to accommodate their classes.Younger baby boomers are caught in between caring for their children and their aging parents. They need flexible start times to see their kids off to school and the ability to work from home if an ailing parent requires them to be nearby in case of emergencies. Businesses need to be aware of their employees’ needs and build their benefits package accordingly. Offering flexible start times, but not the ability to work from home, can alienate staff and cause them to search for a job that offers a better work-life balance.
  3. Encourage collaboration among the generations. A large age gap between employees can be divisive in the workplace. By encouraging older staff members to team up with a younger individual, each employee can benefit. Gen Xers and baby boomers possess a wealth of knowledge they can share with the younger generations. Millennials and Generation Z employees can help their more experienced colleagues learn how to use social media more effectively or how to utilize new technologies.

Employee benefits are not a stagnant entity. Businesses that neglect to update their benefits packages to meet their employees’ needs run the risk of rising turnover rates and declining morale. The Reilly Group can help your company navigate the diverse needs of employees of all ages and backgrounds. To learn more, contact us today.