Originally published in HeroHunt June 15, 2023
While a unified movement toward digital transformations was already well-underway before 2019, nothing expedited the need for organizations to evolve their traditional models more than the new reality of post-pandemic business operations.
In response to the need for more automation and efficiency, one of the areas that more organizations have focused their attention on is reducing the manual workloads associated with benefits administration. This is where the value of benefits technology implementation has truly shined.
But much like with any new technology, getting the most out of it requires proper planning and implementation.
Common hurdles with inefficient employee benefits technology
Unfortunately, technology isn’t created equally. Many organizations use technology solutions that promise many different features, but the functionality fell flat. When this happens, HR is left with administrative burden — the same burden their current system promised to alleviate.
Lack of adequate employee support
Employee benefits communication within your organization is critical because it can increase engagement in your benefits package. But without an efficient system to administer your organization’s benefits offerings, this can lead to confusion among employees.
This confusion often leads to increased workloads for HR staff, who are constantly called on to explain how their benefits work or how they should handle their enrollment requirements.
Lack of data
Access to data is one of the most valuable aspects of benefits technology provides. Or at least should be. If your system isn’t providing you with dashboards, reporting, benchmarking, and analytics, then you’re missing out on a wealth of information. Data can be used to identify how much your organization spends on premiums, show you enrollment participation, and much more. This is information that helps you drive desired outcomes.
Missing crucial functionality
There are endless benefits technology solutions out there, but many of these solutions can’t do much outside of basic processes like handling new hire and open enrollment. Fortunately, the bar is set much higher than that.
A technology solution that doesn’t streamline administrative tasks isn’t doing what it needs to. If your technology still requires manual data entry, lacks the ability to send electronic eligibility files, and doesn’t integrate with payroll — it’s time to upgrade.
Things can get ugly from the employees’ side, too. Many solutions on the market don’t have the ability to deliver self-service functionality. People want the ability to make critical benefits decisions from their own homes, and of course, look over their options with their families. Your system should be accessible and optimized for any device: smartphones, tablets, desktops, or laptops.
Finding the best fit employee benefits technology solution
You’ve realized your technology isn’t doing what you need it to do, so you want to look for a better solution. Consider what you like and don’t like about the platform. Creating a list of pain points helps you understand the functionality you need from your technology. Keep in mind that your new system needs to serve both your needs and those of your employees to ensure satisfaction and high engagement levels.
You don’t need to rely on the “all-in-one solution” trap out of perceived convenience. You can find a best fit benefits technology solution with intuitive interfaces and integrations that relieve your administrative burden.
Just because you need to depend on multiple platforms to provide a “complete” solution for your business doesn’t mean you need to increase your workload. Thanks to API and EDI technology, you can implement a fully customized solution that integrates with payroll and HR platforms while benefiting from seamless system automation that improves efficiency levels and significantly reduces administration errors.
Steps for successfully implementing employee benefits technology
New technology implementation is an undertaking, but with proper planning, you can make the process seamless.
Conduct a comprehensive audit to assess existing arrangements
Take a look at your current system. What functionality are you not getting from it? Does your system send electronic eligibility files to carriers? Does it connect to payroll? Can your system handle all of the benefits plans you need it to?
Work with an employee benefits technology partner
With many solutions on the market, it’s difficult to choose one that works best for you. Instead of spending a lot of time researching the available solutions, work with a technology partner to find a tailored solution that addresses your pain points..
For example, some benefits technology solutions are designed for large enterprises, while others are focused on smaller employers. The platform you choose should be appropriate for your industry and business size, and a technology partner can help you find the right fit.
Technology partners can help you access best-of-breed benefits technology and implement sustainable benefits solutions for your organization.
By working with a technology partner, you can rely on industry specialists who can diagnose exactly how your business can optimize its approach to benefits administration, empowering you to truly streamline benefits administration.
Plan your implementation process
Implementing a benefits technology solution can improve efficiency and employee engagement, but the process requires time and resources. You must prepare for the process with goals, a timeline, and a strategy to train your staff on the new system. Your technology partner can help you with the implementation process with project management, configuration, data imports, customization, and quality assurance testing.
Train HR staff and employees to use the technology correctly
Though most benefits technology platforms are intuitive, your HR team and employees will still need training to use them effectively. This is especially true with the HR team because they’ll be employees’ main source of information as they navigate the new platform.
Planning the training process should be part of the implementation plan for a seamless launch when you’re ready to transition to the new platform.
Monitor usage patterns and provide ongoing education
Many benefits technology platforms have tools to track usage patterns and see their performance. For example, you can review employee usage to see if they’re moving quickly through the enrollment process, running into any obstacles, or using any learning resources.
Monitor these patterns to identify opportunities to improve the experience for your employees. Consider additional guidance if you find that most employees tend to run into problems with a specific part of the process.
Reassess employee feedback regularly to ensure successful implementation
Once you have your benefits technology in place, test it with your employees and see if it works as it should be, requesting employee feedback. This will give you insights into what aspects of the process you can improve.
Getting feedback doesn’t have to be challenging or time-consuming. You can use virtual meetings or focus groups, online surveys sent through email, or scheduled one-on-one sessions. To make the most of your time, plan questions in advance and give employees a chance to share their comments or concerns.
Upgrade your benefits technology
It’s important as an organization that you adapt to the unique needs of your employees. With the right benefits technology in place, you can empower both your HR staff and employees with innovative features and solutions that streamline the benefits administration process and improve employee engagement.