If you’re like many medium-to-large-size businesses, you have probably directed employees to the company intranet, benefits portal, or HR knowledge base, and instructed them to seek answers there before engaging HR.
Sure, this works some of the time, but it's likely that many employees choose to contact HR regardless, and typically for answers to the same routine questions around healthcare benefits, company policies, compensation, and vacation policies. The information is available to employees in one form or another, but they either can’t find it or choose not to search for it; we’ll explore why later on.
As a Human Resource professional, you are more than happy to serve employees and help them solve problems, but if that comes at the expense of other priorities or you find yourself answering the same questions over and over again, it’s important to re-evaluate the current systems and processes. Furthermore, if your staff is regularly handling inquiries they are over-qualified to accept, the system needs an update.
Government’s job is to create or augment legislation to address it’s budgetary or political goals. But just as government has the power to implement new legislation that significantly impacts benefits strategies -- whether the Cadillac tax or another aspect of ACA -- employers now have an equally powerful weapon in the form of cutting-edge self-service benefits engagement solutions. These tools allow leading companies to easily shift their benefits education and engagement strategies in response to any legislative changes thrown their way.
Is it just me or are the cost-containment measures driven by ACA putting the fundamental reasons for offering benefits at risk?
According to a recent survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, employers believe 2016 will be the most expensive ACA year yet, and in response, many have implemented cost-containment measures that hit employees where it hurts the worst—their wallets.
According to the survey, more than a third of employers have increased out-of-pocket limits, deductibles, and participants’ share of premium costs while twenty percent have increased copayments or coinsurance, participants’ share of prescription drug costs, and employees’ share of dependent coverage costs.
Meanwhile, the same survey noted that 79% of employers rely on their benefits to attract future talent and 75% use their benefits to retain current employees.
So there’s our challenge: Offering a competitive benefits strategy that attracts and retains employees while intelligently managing costs.