There are two words that evoke dread among human resources professionals and employees alike:
Of all the reasons to invest in a human resource information system (HRIS), open enrollment may be the most compelling.
Without an HRIS, HR professionals are forced to tackle the process manually. Overwhelmed by deadlines, stacks of paperwork, employee meetings and inquiries, they have no choice but to put in late hours all the while thinking “there must be a better way!”
It’s no cake walk for employees either who are forced to make selections during staff meetings without adequate time to research and understand their options. According to Aflac’s 2016 Open Enrollment Survey, 72% of the employees surveyed said they find the benefits enrollment process to be complicated or stressful. So much so that nearly half reported they would rather walk across hot coals than complete their annual benefits enrollment!
Fortunately, an HRIS can make the process pleasant—or at least more desirable than blisters on your feet. Here are five ways how:
1. It reduces paperwork
An HRIS eliminates the need for time-consuming and clutter-causing paper forms. With electronic enrollment there’s less paperwork to keep tabs on and potentially misplace. Each employee has a single record where you can access information without having to search through emails or the dreaded filing cabinet. Maintaining compliance is easier too since you can compile and run reports as needed from one system.
2. It increases efficiency
Workflows can be customized so that employees are alerted when the enrollment period is open and when forms are due. The system will then guide them through the process, where they can either elect or waive benefits. You can even set alerts to deliver reminders as deadlines approach. Additionally, permission levels can be set so that employees may only view what they are eligible for. Configurable workflows allow HR to review submitted information, approve, and easily accept benefit selections with a click of the button.
3. It eliminates error
Without an HRIS, HR professionals must manually transfer all employee benefits selections to the carrier systems. It can be a logistical nightmare. An HRIS with carrier connectivity eliminates errors by sharing the information in your system directly to specified benefit carriers, eliminating the need to re-enter any data. Not only is it a huge time saver, it drastically reduces manual error.
4. It diminishes risk
Sharing sensitive information—social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, etc.—is necessary during open enrollment. With paper forms, it can be challenging to keep this information private and out of sight from other employees. Having an HRIS in place ensures that access to this information is limited to the right people.
5. It empowers employees
Thanks to self-service features, employees can easily compare plans and make elections from the comfort of their homes. Without the pressure of making choices while at work, employees can consult their significant others, research their options, and ultimately be more confident in their decisions.
Utilizing an HRIS for open enrollment is a win/win for all!
An HRIS can relieve much of the burden experienced by HR professionals during open enrollment by increasing efficiency, reducing error, and saving time. Additionally, it enriches the experience for the employee by giving them greater control over the process.