Why Your Business Should Have Online Open Enrollment

Business owners: Say goodbye to open enrollment being an expensive time drain.

why-your-business-should-move-open-enrollment-online
If you haven’t moved open enrollment online, now’s the time

Paperwork, paperwork! For small to medium-sized business owners, the amount of paperwork to complete often exceeds the amount of time spent dedicated to running or growing your business. In addition to dealing with all the forms that employees need to fill out, you likely spend a good deal of time organizing what employees have turned in, what they haven’t, and who you have to chase down to get what’s missing. These time drains are costly for SMBs, many of whose businesses run lean and efficiently.

Getting away from the paperwork that drags you down isn’t just another tedious task off your desk, it may mean an advantage in the marketplace. In today’s competitive climate, having to deal with a lot of paperwork can mean the competition is getting a leg up on your company.

Open enrollment = endless paperwork

When it comes to annual benefits enrollment, the sheer volume of paperwork alone is daunting for many business owners. Narrow enrollment windows often mean everything else on your “to-do list” has to wait while you deal with employee questions, forms, and mistakes. In addition to enrollment forms for every benefit you offer, there’s always additional paperwork to chase: birth and marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and court orders. The sheer volume is a full-time job every year. Even if you happen to have a background in benefits administration, the process can be overwhelming. The case for moving annual enrollment online has never been stronger.

Online enrollment benefits

Save costs and time

The option to move open enrollment online is a boon for SMBs. Not only is the process taken out of your hands, it’s moved to the hands of experts. Your time is valuable — and better spent growing your business, serving your customers, or training your employees. The annual open enrollment process is a time drain that’s easily avoided by moving the process to a professional, online service.

The option to move open enrollment online is a boon for SMBs. Not only is the process taken out of your hands, it’s moved to the hands of experts.

Deal with less paperwork

At the front end, businesses spend countless hours preparing benefits enrollment packages for their staff. They can include everything from outlines of employee options to details of each benefit offered. Businesses send out checklists and create spreadsheets to make sure everyone has completed and returned every form.

Then there’s the task of checking forms you receive, to assure employees have completed them properly. Organizing these to make sure they aren’t lost is next on the list.

Finalizing enrollment is a process in itself. Making sure you have all the documents from each employee and then ensuring you send them to the appropriate carrier — and on time — is another day (or more) lost to SMBs. Moving to online enrollment not only saves these steps, it saves all the paper necessary to print forms for employees to complete and copy them for the employee file. Less filing and fewer trips to the post office are always good.

Empower employees

When staffers are able to complete enrollment from anywhere (including home), they are able to talk with family members about their options. How many times have you explained a benefit to a staffer, only to have them come back with questions from their spouse? Online enrollment allows employees to review options at their own pace, and with whatever family members they have involved in the choices.

Online platforms allow workers to look at all their options, as well. They can find answers to their questions throughout the enrollment process as they comparison shop for the benefits packages that best suit their needs. The time you save looking through plan documents to answer questions is invaluable: the system handles it for the employee faster and easier than you can.

Stop chasing employees

Once enrollment starts, the madness begins. A small handful of staffers will return their forms promptly, but the remainder will need frequent prodding. There are always employees who wait until the 11th hour to complete their forms, typically with a laundry list of questions they have before they make their final choices.

For those who returned forms incomplete or unsigned, you spend countless hours calling, texting, emailing, and pleading for them to get the forms done correctly, make sure the supporting documents are attached, or just give their signature. Even though getting them to fill out their form in a timely manner is for their own benefit, some SMBs have to ask managers to put pressure on staffers to get the forms done.

Online enrollment platforms do the chasing for you — they send reminders out to prompt employees to complete their forms or submit additional documents.

Online enrollment platforms do the chasing for you — they send reminders out to prompt employees to complete their forms or submit additional documents. SMBs can view the progress of enrollment submissions, but don’t have to worry about tracking down the stragglers.

Boost employee experience

Fast and accessible from anywhere at any time, online enrollment takes the hassle out of annual benefits enrollment for staff members. They’re able to compare available policies, benefits, and costs at their own pace, without the pressure of work looming large. Online enrollment helps staffers make the best choices for themselves and their family members.

When open enrollment is seamlessly integrated with the benefits providers you currently use (or even if you’re shopping for new carriers), the process is smooth and painless. When open enrollment is easy, it’s easier to get employees to participate.

Avoid errors and omissions

Even the best benefits administrator can let an unsigned form or an incomplete enrollment package slip through the cracks. These errors may be minor, or they could be very costly. For staff members who miss enrollment deadlines, the impact could be felt throughout the coming year. When an online system automates enrollment, employee errors are a thing of the past.

Online enrollment makes it impossible for employees to complete the process without doing so fully and accurately.

Individual forms cannot be submitted unless they are fully complete. The enrollment process itself isn’t completed until the employee has made an election for all their benefits options. Online enrollment makes it impossible for employees to complete the process without doing so fully and accurately.

Reduce overall cost

How many labor hours do you put into open enrollment every year? Preparing the paperwork, answering questions, putting together enrollment materials, and shipping them off? What’s your average hourly rate? That’s just the first tangible expense of manual open enrollment. Don’t forget to add the time you waste chasing down employees who haven’t turned in their forms, or those who’ve completed them incorrectly.

Now consider employees waiting to see you so you can help answer their questions or help them complete forms correctly. The time they spend with you is time away from productivity — for themselves and perhaps their team. These hourly rates are also a factor in your real costs. Open enrollment is an expensive time drain. You may not have considered just how many resources you invest in this annual event, but outsourcing enrollment — so employees can complete their forms anytime and from anywhere — is a smart choice for all businesses.

Just how costly is open enrollment for business? Our data shows customers save up to a full week of labor costs moving their enrollment to Zenefits online. Less work, fewer errors, better employee experience, and reduced cost. There’s no reason not to move open enrollment online. Don’t wait for the end-of-the-year crunch when dozens of other pressures are coming your way. Start moving open enrollment online today — the sooner the better.

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