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  • Ned Schaut

A Beginner’s Guide to Finding a Benefits Expert

A Beginner's Guide to Finding a Benefits Expert

As any human resources professional and they will tell you that the annual enrollment period is extremely stressful for a variety of reasons. Employees get confused about the benefit options and may have dozens of questions. You will likely have several staff members that you have to hunt down and practically force them to complete the paperwork. Others will make multiple mistakes and need to come back and make changes at a later date because they didn't understand their options. Each of these scenarios may feel inevitable, but there are ways that you can reduce the frustration both for the HR staff as well as for individual employees by working with a proactive benefits expert. These individuals should be able to walk you through best practices for annual enrollment, including communication standards and timing, special tips and tools and more. Look for these traits when you are selecting a new benefits team for your next employee benefits enrollment season.

Professional and Helpful Tools and Materials

Does your benefits professional have a toolkit full of helpful tools and materials? This could be anything from calculators that help employees determine what their payments will be for standard life events such as minor illnesses as well as more major events such as surgery. These tools should help simplify the details for staff members and clarify what can be an unduly confusing conversation. It can be quite difficult if you have HR staff that is still learning about the changes themselves, and are not completely clear on how each scenario would work. In this case, tools that walk through a range of options are the best way to illustrate the differences between various benefits options and the impact on the employee.

Great Knowledge of the Employee Benefits Process

HR professionals have a wide range of knowledge but are often expected to be generalists for many topics. During open enrollment, there are often many more questions than internal teams have time to research, making it vital to have the backup that you need from your benefits expert. Knowing that guidance and support are only a phone call or email away during this busy season is a great relief for HR leaders who might otherwise be spending their time attempting to decipher nuances within a new or unfamiliar system. Your benefits expert should be the expert -- quickly able to understand any challenges that you are having and walk you through them quickly and efficiently.

Look for Transparency Throughout Their Communications

Transparency in the communications process is a vital measure for success, particularly when you're discussing employee benefits. Unclear or inconsistent messages or responses to questions can signal a lack of knowledge of the tools or process, which can quickly lead to confusion within your teams. There shouldn't be any dissembling or sidestepping of questions; instead, clear and transparent communication should be the order of the day. A lack of transparency might also signal that your benefits team is not comfortable with the business standards they are required to meet, which could also lead to confusion and difficult conversations in the future.

Understanding the employee benefits options for your staff starts with ensuring that your human resources and benefits team are able to adequately answer questions when they are asked. Finding a benefits expert that will provide you with the digital and printed tools -- as well as take the time to answer your questions and do any additional training requested -- helps get your team off on the right foot long before the open enrollment season even begins. When you're ready to learn more about a proactive approach to employee benefits and annual enrollment, contact the professionals at Eureka at 916-742-8742 or download our complimentary guide: A Practical Guide to Finding Help With Employee Benefits.

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