At this time of the year, my boss, Scott Ault, often says “it'sall about football.” But in the voluntary business, we're in theheight of enrollment season. And these days enrollment is all aboutonline enrollment platforms, yet it's also about access toemployees. Exactly what is access to employees when onlineenrollment platforms are used?

|

I recently attended an industry meeting where this was the topicof a great deal of discussion. The observation was made thatbrokers like online enrollment because it gives employers what theywant, which is less intrusive enrollment with only limited on-sitemeetings, if any. While that might be the case, this doesn't meanthere is no connection with employees. Nor does it mean the brokerand insurance company can be passive about enrollment connectionswith employees on the theory that employees will go to the systemand enroll. It simply means the connection centers arounde-commerce concepts, and e-commerce can only work if employees payattention.

|

These concepts include using multiple ways to connect employeeswith their financial security needs, their risk of significantfinancial loss, and the answers to these needs provided by thevoluntary products being offered. Techniques include:

|

Employer webpage links to need-finding tools

|

Video messages on employer intranets

|

Email communications

|

Brainshark messages

|

Interactive modules inside the enrollment system that provideenrollment-related direction (“studies show that many workers likeyou purchase…”)

|

Text reminders and call center support during open enrollmentperiods

|

Chat rooms or blogs where employees can discuss options

|

Webinars for employees, scheduled so some are available inevenings for spouse attendance

|

Of course, group meetings and print media options can also beused. However, keep in mind they are more costly than systemenrollments, and ultimately someone has to pay this expense.

|

In essence, off-location enrollment centered around e-businessmarketing can succeed, but these techniques need to be sold to theemployer and negotiated just as carefully as traditional on-siteenrollment access.

|

System-based enrollment works well when the broker negotiatesproactive connections with employees, using some or all of thetechniques listed above as well as one more: employer cooperation.This includes messages from the top that enrollment is importantand valuable as well as messages from supervisors and union leaders(if applicable) that the enrollment system should be used. Messagesdelivered directly to these influencers are a key part of this.

|

Finally, one of my pet peeves is the perception that onlySilicon Valley cases or white-collar businesses are good prospectsfor online enrollment. Our most successful online case this year,which wasn't a core benefit enrollment (voluntary only), was agroup of gas-and-go-type retail outlets with several hundredeligible employees in dozens of locations. Why did it work so well?Because there was great employer cooperation and the employees werefamiliar with computer use and messaging.

|

So is it all about football? In football, success is built viabuilding a game plan, executing the plan through teamwork,coordination of all the elements in a play, and adjustingappropriately as the game progresses. In building enrollmentcampaign success, we build a plan, execute it, coordinate allelements, and adjust as required—no matter how enrollment isconducted. It turns out success has very similar building blocks inboth football and enrollment.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.