4 Ways to Design a Successful Open Enrollment

That time of year is fast approaching

For Benefits Brokers, the first of October marks the beginning of another open enrollment season. In preparation for the busiest time of year, here are four ways to ease your administrative volume and design a successful open enrollment.

The key to achieving customer happiness, as in customers who want to do business with you again and again, is to focus on employee happiness first. This is admittedly very tough during the Open Enrollment Season, but there are ways to combat burnout and keep your employees engaged and happy through the very busy months.

Adjust the Workload

Understanding the workload of your staff is key here. Ask yourself, or ask them, what are they working on at 8:00 pm, on their couch, because they could not get to it during the day? Many back-office tasks get pushed aside during Open Enrollment so that your staff can focus on onsite meetings, employer calls and planning. How can you get those items off their plate?

Allow Them to Focus on Their Core Competencies

You have a tenured staff with a specialty in the industry. It is working within that specialty and core competency that will keep your staff feeling satisfied and challenged. Is your staff bogged down with tasks that are below their pay grade?

Promote Balance

Cultivating fairness and balance is one of the best ways to avoid burnout. Prioritizing a realistic job design and work/life balance alleviates pressure and a toxic work culture.

Weigh Priorities

Being crystal clear on top priorities drives performance and prevents burnout.

Solicit Ideas

Ask employees for input on how to get the job done better and faster. Listen to their ideas. Delegate tasks appropriately.

The role of a benefits broker is quickly evolving from product sales to strategic advisor. The need for clients to offer a competitive benefits portfolio is more important than ever to attract and retain talent in a competitive job market and an ever-changing industry.

Offering a competitive benefits portfolio involves more than just health plan design and contribution strategy. Funding valued benefits based on the population of the company is key to the success of the portfolio. For example, Long Term Care and Life Insurance may be very important to an employee over the age of 50, while millennials would prefer more innovative benefits.

Trends indicate the top valued benefit initiatives, aside from the traditional Health and Dental Insurance, include:

Mental Health and Well-Being Benefits

Including these benefits at a $0 cost is trending amongst self-funded clients in 2020.

Student Loan Repayment Plans

While this is still a relatively new benefit option, there are many lenders and partners available who can tailor the program to the specific needs and interests of the company’s workforce. According to Gradifi, one of vendors who offer these programs, 58% of millennials would trade an additional vacation day for student loan repayment assistance.

Onsite Clinics

Onsite clinics are not only valued by employees but assist the client in keeping utilization and overall costs down. Employers offering clinics are seeing enhanced integration of health management services, higher employee engagement in health management programs and increased effectiveness of health promotion efforts.

Gym Memberships

Many gyms will offer significant discounts to local companies looking to cover the fees for their employees. The perception of a free gym membership to the employee has a higher perceived value than the same monthly dollar amount being put into their H.S.A. or towards their health insurance.

Integrated benefits administration platforms have been on the rise over the past 5 years. The rise in employees working from home is quickly making technology a necessity. Surprisingly, a large portion of brokers still focus solely on customer service rather than technology-driven solutions.

Benefit Administration Systems give employees access to their benefits 24/7 through any means they choose, including mobile apps, smart phones, websites, and other virtual platforms.

Technology is not just helping your customers; it helps your bottom line as well. With the use of technology, brokers can share frequent and clear communication with employers and their employees and easily track enrollments, terminations, and changes. Paper applications with missing information will (hopefully) be a thing of the past.

Flexibility is a necessary principle for insurance brokers. Being able to adapt to changing technology, shifting compliance, and evolving customer needs will help you be more effective, but you cannot do it alone.

The opportunity to partner with a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company allows you, and your tenured staff, to delegate important back office tasks that keep your staff from focusing on strategies, innovation, and the top of their job description.

Patra is an insurance BPO using technology-enabled solutions to power the insurance industry. Patra’s processing experts and consultants address an organization’s specific workload needs to improve efficiency, increase productivity, and grow top-line revenue. Learn more about how Patra can help you create a successful Open Enrollment.

About Patra

Patra is a leading provider of technology-enabled insurance outsourcing. Patra powers insurance processes by optimizing the application of people and technology, supporting insurance organizations as they sell, deliver, and manage policies and customers through our PatraOne platform. Patra’s global team of over 6,000 process executives in geopolitically stable and democratic countries that protect data allows agencies, MGAs, wholesalers, and carriers to capture the Patra Advantage – profitable growth and organizational value.

Brooke Whitney, VP, Retail Segment

About The Author ...

Brooke Whitney
VP, Retail Segment

Employee Benefits Sales Solution Consultant Brooke has over 15 years of experience in the Employee Benefits industry specializing in sales, development, and relationship management. Brooke spent the past 8 years at a retail agency and was responsible for account services management and managing a book of business including all lines of Employee Benefits. Brooke worked to bring a strategic focus to employee benefits, provided support on leveraging technologies to streamline benefit administration, ensure compliance with the ever-changing regulations inherent to Employee Benefits, and provide education/advocacy to her clients and their employees.