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Deploying E-Learning in Open Enrollment: A Reflection

Friday, February 8, 2019

Whether you are a small, privately owned business or a large, publicly-traded company with global operations, there is one time of year that proves stressful for all organizations, irrespective of industry or scale.  That unsettling window is Open Enrollment.  

While the influx of benefits administration platforms in the marketplace has been successful in driving down workload for organizations who can afford to digitize the enrollment process, the options for educating employees on benefit offerings were relatively limited historically.  This limitation has evolved into an opportunity with the recent adoption of instructional technology in the corporate space.  

Today, innovative insurance brokers are working with clients to provide virtual options for educating employees during open enrollment instead of the traditional live presentation method which was once standard practice.  E-learning techniques used for benefits education range from webinars conducted in real-time to fully immersive asynchronous trainings administered through learning management systems.  Regardless of the delivery approach, the positive effects of embracing instructional technology for open enrollment training are undeniable. 

A persistent challenge when delivering open enrollment presentations face-to-face is the inability to accommodate remote workers, employees based out of multiple office locations, and hourly workers operating in different shifts. Virtualizing this experience mitigates the need for multiple training sessions and provides employees, spouses, and dependents with detailed resources to refer back to after the open enrollment window closes.  These references may range from a narrated PowerPoint presentation to an interactive guide housed in the cloud or even to an online click-through module, which exposes the nuances of each benefit offering.  Increasing the accessibility of comprehensive training materials minimizes employee confusion and is, therefore, a powerful tactic in reducing workload for HR professionals.  

For companies lacking a robust onboarding program, communicating benefit offerings consistently proves difficult when new employees are hired.  Insurance brokers who deliver a customized e-learning experience that can be administered to new hires at any point throughout the plan year set themselves apart from competitors who choose to ignore the lack of sustainability that an annual live presentation affords for organizations that are growing or those that experience regular employee turnover.  This principle also applies to current employees who choose to waive benefits for themselves, their spouses or their dependents during open enrollment.  If these employees experience a qualifying event, their enrollment experience mirrors a new hire in that they must re-educate before electing benefits. 

As the use of instructional technology becomes a more common practice in the world of employee benefits, it has the potential to enhance engagement with respect to benefit education and enrollment – drastically.  Content authoring software, used to design and develop e-learning products, will continue to evolve and allow for the creation of more immersive educational experiences.  It is vital that the employee benefits space capitalizes on these advancements to improve the open enrollment process for employees and HR professionals alike.  

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.