The management of employee benefits is complicated. Not only are the benefits complex and constantly changing, but employees need information on their side to make educated decisions. If you don’t have a handle on your day-to-day benefits management, it’s easy for the entire process to grow out of control.
Employees may not feel like they’re getting the support that they need. Benefits may go unused and deadlines may be missed. Security issues may even occur, as benefits tie in closely with personally identifiable information and medical-related information. To avoid these problems, you need to make sure that management never gets out of control in the first place.
With that in mind, here are some important tips to make managing your employee benefits smoother.
Go Paperless: Digitize Your Company’s Documents for Easier Access
One of the best things you can do for your benefits management is to digitize documents. Maintain an online portal where employees can review their documents and easily search for the forms and files they need. Not only does this improve productivity, but it also saves on space (and helps the environment).
With a thorough document management system, you can easily search for relevant documents on-the-fly. And for the purposes of security, a document management system can log information such as when a file was last accessed.
Schedule Employee Benefits Seminars: Keep Your Employees on the Same Page
Employees aren’t always certain what their benefits even are, and that becomes a problem. They may file paperwork late because they’re not sure what’s expected of them, or they may miss critical deadlines because they weren’t aware of them. 401ks, health plans, and other benefits are often complex.
It wouldn’t be so difficult if employee benefits didn’t frequently change. When plans are updated, employees need a full review of what their benefits now are, how it changes, and (most importantly) how it directly impacts them. They may not be able to understand all the fine print, but they want the gist of what it means to them.
Scheduling regular seminars regarding employee benefits can help employees stay on the same page. Employees will be more knowledgeable about the benefits and will be aware of their deadlines.
Remain Transparent: Send Out Memos and Notices Regarding Changes
When changes are implemented in employee benefits plans, employees have to be notified right away. This is especially true if the impact on them could be adverse. Remain transparent and send out notices regarding the changes quickly.
This can be a difficult process if there isn’t already a system set up to easily distribute information to employees. Employees can be alerted on the corporate intranet, through email, or even through postal mail, but it’s important that employees be notified — and that the method of notification is consistent.
When notifying employees of changes (especially large ones), it’s a good best practice to tell employees when and where they can discuss these changes. Give them a contact for the changes, so they can be sure that they get the information they need.
Have Office Time: Maintain a Time When Employees Can Talk to You About Their Needs
Of course, office time isn’t just for changes to benefit plans. It’s a good idea to maintain a consistent office time, and to set aside time for employee questions. Hold an “open office” once a week when employees can walk in and ask about their benefits.
Employees are busy. They’re trying to do their job to the best of their ability. And often that means that they just don’t have the time to schedule an appointment. A walk-in time lets them come and ask important questions about their benefits that they might otherwise not have the time to ask.
Send a Newsletter: Remind Employees About Upcoming Deadlines and New Programs
When updates are coming, especially important updates such as rolling insurance deadlines, make sure that employees are notified. A newsletter or mailing list is a good time to notify employees both about upcoming deadlines and new programs, such as health initiatives.
Newsletters don’t just keep employees up-to-date on what’s going on, in terms of their benefits. It also helps reinforce company culture. Spend some time crafting a newsletter that includes tips and tricks, as well as information about the company’s new programs.
Managing a benefits program is never easy. Whether you work for a small business or a larger enterprise, benefits themselves are complex, and managing employees can be even harder. But by remaining well-organized, simplifying your system, and improving communication and transparency, you can make the day-to-day management of your benefits simpler.
When it comes to day-to-day management and maintenance, it’s all about building better business processes. Schedule newsletters, update the employee intranet, and keep the lines of communication open, and your benefits issues should be able to resolve themselves.
What have you learned about managing your employee benefits? Are there questions that you still have? Contact SMD Insurance today for a consultation and check out our free download: 10 Steps to Choosing the Best Benefits Enrollment Tools for Your Small Business.