Humanizing Benefits Administration

By Tracey Hinrichs

 Humanizing Benefit Administration

In the vocabulary of corporate buzzwords, "human capital" often is used as a term to quantify the ultimate value people represent in the workforce.

 It strikes me as a reference that is abstract, detached and, ironically, dehumanizing.

 Yes, it may be concise in summing up the "big picture" worth employees bring to organizations, but most of us want to be recognized as an asset based on our unique, individual talents and contributions as humans.

 In the business of benefits, we sometimes lose touch with the human element. Staying focused on the individual needs of the people we serve continues to motivate me to step back and consider how benefits can best be administered in today’s evolving workplace.

 As technology grew for all of us via immersion into the Internet and electronic communication, the world of benefits also moved in that direction. Over the years, we have seen employers make the shift. For many, one-on-one meetings that guide employees through filling out paperwork have been replaced by 100 percent online enrollment.

 Technology has effectively smoothed the process, but often at the cost of human touch.

 More recently, as benefits have become more complicated, the stakes are higher. With HDHPs, HSAs, wellness initiatives, engagement and voluntary benefits being rolled out at one time, we have employees asking for personal touch.

 In spite of acronyms, terminologies and processes that can seem impersonally fabricated from an assembly line, benefits are about as personal as it gets. It comes down to people making vital decisions about their own well-being and the lives of their families.

 We are committed to bring the human touch to benefits. More than ever, it’s needed.

 Even Gen X and Millennials are bringing their benefit packages to advisors – their parents – for assistance before going online to enroll. As online enrollment continues to grow as a viable option among others, providing an expert resource to call can be a key touchpoint of help, information and support to employees.

 Someone uncredited deserves the credit for once having said, "The purpose of business should be to make life better for people."

 Our team at EBC strives to live up to this philosophy by making the most of technology while placing a high value on being human.

 

 

 

read more …

Open Enrollment Season Survival Tips

Posted on: August 4, 2016 2:00 pm
Tags: New ventures, Open enrollment, Survival, Enrollment

Open Enrollment Season Survival Tips

 By Tracey Hinrichs

 Take slow, deep breaths.

 It’s open enrollment season, that time of year when you feel your chest clench, your head spin and your back muscles wanting to escape to the tranquility of a remote island that offers preventive chiropractic care.

 The good news: You don’t need to crawl under your desk with a comfort dog, massage therapist and a 3-month stash of soft-baked cookies. Instead, close your eyes and repeat, “I am a vessel of calm and practical benefits information.” With the aid of a few tips, you can be in the moment and guide employees through the enrollment process like a master.

 Communicate early, often, simple and clear. Get a jump on enrollment. Roll out consistent messages well in advance and throughout to help employees understand, prepare and review.

 Cut to the chase. What’s changing? How much? Provide the facts on plans and costs up front. Answer questions. Avert agitated employees who tire easily when beaten around the bush.

 Make the details easy to digest. Are there cutbacks? Higher out-of-pocket costs? Greater incentives to stay healthy? Avoid creating a scavenger hunt for information. Organize and highlight the need-to-knows about consumer-driven health plans, consolidated health plan offerings, changes to prescription drug plans, etc.

 Reinforce what and why. Remind your employees why you offer certain benefits. When they understand the reasons you are making an important investment and the true value, you’re on track towards building employee satisfaction.

 It’s all about well-being. In the maze of open enrollment’s must-dos, it’s key to focus on employee needs. When you frame benefits to overall health and financial well-being, you send the message that their investment of time to make smart decisions has a personal payoff.

 Promote missed opportunities. Pay attention to where they are leaving money on the table. Underline the value of participating in wellness incentives, 401k plans with employer matching and other opportunities.

 Utilize online tools. Make the most of technology – from providing employees with online access to health and wellness information to taking advantage of the latest web-based enrollment platforms.

 Offer the support of benefits specialists. Make it personal. Whether it’s assistance with face-to-face enrollment, call center or a source of helpful information at group meetings, employees value access to knowledgeable experts who can answer questions and guide them confidently through the process.

 Hire an enrollment company. Looking to exhale? A company specializing in benefits enrollment and administration becomes an extension of you. They serve as a resource to your team and do the heavy lifting during open enrollment.

 As industry experts, EBC’s team of professional Implementation and Benefits Enrollment Specialists represents over 80 years in the field. We are highly experienced at helping our client partners breathe easier.

  

read more …

Taking the plunge, making a splash

Posted on: October 21, 2015 9:30 am
Tags: New ventures

by Tracey Hinrichs   Comedic entrepreneur Tina Fey has written, “You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.” I appreciate the wisdom of this quote. Looking back over

read more …