RADNOR, Pa. (BUSINESS WIRE), September 10, 2020 - Virtual graduation, Zoom weddings, sports without spectators — this year everything looks different and open enrollment will be no exception. The days of in-person presentations and paper pamphlets are over — open enrollment is going virtual. Lincoln Financial Group (NYSE:LNC) understands that this new reality and the ongoing pandemic create a greater need for education and understanding around benefit offerings for employees.
Employees are looking for education on the protections available, with 55% of adults surveyed saying they would like to learn more about how each of the benefits they’re offered relates to COVID-19.3 And education on coverage is needed; in a recent study, 45% of U.S. adults said they aren’t sure if short-term disability would cover someone who becomes sick with COVID-19, and 14% believe that COVID-19 would not be covered.4
“We know benefits have always been a tool for employers to attract and retain talent, but they are truly an essential need for employees in the wake of COVID-19,” said Eric Reisenwitz, senior vice president, interim president, Group Protection, Lincoln Financial Group. “Just offering the benefits isn’t enough — employers need to commit to educating their employees about the available benefits, and what they cover — and this year they need to do it all virtually.”
Now, more than ever, financial wellness is top of mind, and nearly four in 10 consumers surveyed are concerned about making the right choices during open enrollment.5 And, with nearly eight out of 10 employed U.S. adults surveyed thinking differently about planning for their financial futures6, maximizing employer-offered benefits is more important than ever.
Employers must be able to adapt and address the evolving needs of employees ahead of open enrollment. As a leading provider of workplace benefits like short- and long-term disability and leave management, Lincoln Financial has five tips to help employers maximize a virtual open enrollment and create positive outcomes for employees.
Host A Virtual Benefits Fair All Employees Can Attend
Open enrollment can be a confusing time in the best circumstances. Yet in today’s remote working environment, providing guidance and resources is critical to successful execution. Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce today, and the vast majority (89%), say that understanding a benefit and how it works is an important factor in deciding which benefits to choose at work.7
Empower employees to take ownership of their coverage by setting up an engaging and informative virtual benefits fair. A virtual benefits fair can help employees learn all their benefit options, explain products and connect employees directly with benefit counselors to answer questions. This results in more informed employees who benefit from the entire scope of their compensation package rather than just their yearly salary.
Present The Benefits - Live Or On Demand
Having on-demand resources gives employees the time they need to fully review and confidently select benefits coverage. Digital enrollment guides or flyers can be hosted online all year long, giving employees the chance to not only prepare for open enrollment, but refer back to if they have questions about their coverage during the year.
There are a variety of virtual documents and tools available, including pre-enrollment materials, and insurance carriers can work with employers to create a campaign tailored to best reach employees. At Lincoln Financial, we work with employers to create fully customizable emails that can be sent directly to an employee’s inbox to let them know about the benefits available, remind them of important dates and highlight the value of the coverages offered.
Give Them The Numbers
Providing cost clarity and transparency can help employees take ownership of their coverage and confidently choose the solutions that are best for them. For millennials, one of the most important factors in choosing benefits (88%), is knowing the cost of the benefit, followed by the ability to pay for the benefits through automatic deductions (81%).8 Employers can partner with their carriers to offer the tools employees need to make these selections, including videos and digital calculators that help estimate life insurance and disability coverage needs.
Talk It Through
Even the most well-informed employees can have questions about benefits. In this uncertain time, employees are turning to their employers at higher rates than before the pandemic for information on protection. In fact, 34% of employees report they have reached out to their employers for benefits information, and 24% of employees report that they more often look to their employers for benefits information now, as compared to the time before COVID-19.9
Dedicated enrollment teams can help make your enrollment a success, ensuring employees understand the details of their coverage and feel confident in their benefits choices. Make sure that your HR representatives or benefit counselors are available to address employees’ questions — both over the phone and through chat.
Enroll Online, And Make It Mobile
Make the enrollment process as easy as possible with a self-service platform that can be accessed from any device, anywhere. A website where they can access information about each benefit is the top way that Generation Z, the newest generation to enter the workforce, says they want their employer to educate them about the benefits offered.10
Through an online administration platform, employees can review their current benefits and choose to elect or waive benefits, with instant cost analysis per paycheck, if applicable. As they choose benefits, employees can review helpful information, including benefit summaries and educational videos.
Creating an online and mobile enrollment experience also allows for family participation. Because employees can access documents and any accompanying information from the comfort of home, they can include the people in their lives who will likely be affected by the benefits in the decision-making process.