HRE soundbite: ‘Make employees think’ about benefits

HR leaders need to encourage an active enrollment to get the most bang for their benefits buck—and encourage workers not to stay in the same plan “year to year to year.”
By: | June 8, 2020 • 2 min read

“We don’t want people to default to last year’s plan because things change over time

Employers, and HR leaders in particular, rely on benefits as a way to engage, recruit and retain employees. And as much as employees acknowledge the importance of their workplace benefits, a painful truth remains: most don’t want to think about actually enrolling in them.

“If you let them go to year to year to year [in the same benefits], they will. They don’t want to think about it,” Gary Robinson, senior vice president of strategic partnerships and consultant engagement at healthcare company HealthEquity, said during a webinar last week. “But what we want to do is make people think about this.”

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Having an active enrollment is key to boosting benefits’ return on investment, he said. That means consistently communicating benefits to employees and encouraging them to think about their needs, consider their annual HSA contributions and more. Education and account optimization for short and long term is also key, he said. HR leaders should also look at enrollment as a way to “reinforce the true value of the benefits you offer.”

“We don’t want people to default to last year’s plan because things change over time,” Robinson said.

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.