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4 Helpful Tools for the Best Open Enrollment Season

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are falling, the temps are dropping, and… you guessed it, open enrollment is here!

 

Open enrollment is one of the most important seasons for human resources professionals, as they seek to communicate changes to health care and retirement plans. This communication must be clear, concise and appropriate for your culture. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to HR communication strategies, we’re sharing four helpful tools to help you communicate better this year.

4 Helpful Tools for Open Enrollment:

Quiz

One of the most clever ways to promote open enrollment in your office is an interactive quiz. Ask various questions about an employee’s wants and needs to direct them to a plan that is best suited for them. We love this idea because it makes open enrollment easy to digest for the employee and gives them actionable steps to take.

Chat Bots

Chatbots are also a great piece of technology that you can use to your advantage during the open enrollment season. Set up a chatbot to ask frequently asked questions like, “What is a deductible?”, “Is my spouse covered under this plan?”, and “What is my premium?”.

Videos

Many human resources professionals are utilizing videos to introduce high-level changes throughout their organization. Think about it. Which would you rather do? Read a long and confusing 5-page document, or watch a 5-minute video? Video is an increasingly popular medium for disseminating information, so why should open enrollment be any different?

People

While technology is invaluable, there is also a time and a place for people to come into the mix. Make sure managers are meeting with their team one-on-one to answer any questions. Provide training so they know how to answer any concerns employees might have, and make sure your HR team is available and willing to help. You may also be able to bring in your insurance broker to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you!

What tools are you utilizing during open enrollment and how have you found success in the past? Share with us in the comments.

The Gig Economy and HR

gig economy and hr

The gig economy is defined by Google as “a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.” From Lyft to Amazon, an increase in the number of freelance and contract workers adds new challenges for talent management and it’s vital that HR remains agile in response.  In fact, Adobe’s 2016 “Future of Work” report stated that one in three office workers has more than one job.

With the growing gig economy, here are a few ways Human Resources can respond to the challenges of a growing industry:

Increased Emphasis on Technology

As more workers work remotely, technology has become increasingly valuable to HR experts. From sourcing workers for a job to providing feedback to virtual reality tools for team collaboration, there are countless ways human resources professionals are relying on technology to respond to the needs of their freelance and remote workers. HR’s agility and independence from traditional tools will make all the difference in engaging this new workforce.

Increased Engagement Challenges

Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right? In the case of remote workers, this might not always be true. Engaging employees in their cars, homes, or other locations has proven to be much more challenging than HR anticipated. Agility expert, Nick Horney, says “that HR leaders should think about their workforce more broadly, using a “talent portfolio” that includes traditional and nontraditional employees.” Be cautious of “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome, and continue to focus on the whole of your talent, not just the employees you see on a daily basis.

Increased Evaluation Needs

Along with engagement is also the need for continuous feedback. Gone are the days where an annual performance review was enough. Revamp your performance reviews to fit with your workforce. Again, consider different technologies that can make this process easier. By providing continuous reports on performance and also asking great questions, HR can help these workers feel more engaged, valued and informed whether they’ve been part of the company for a month, a year or a decade.

What are some challenges you’ve faced with a mixed workforce? How are you responding to the gig economy?

The Hidden Challenges of Working Remotely

working remotely perkspot culture

A trend emerging in our 21st century workplace: the ability to “WFH”, or Work from Home. There’s nothing better than rolling out of bed, plopping yourself on the couch with your laptop, and getting to work.

Or so…. That’s what we used to think until we heard from employees who actually had the luxury to work remotely. Here’s what we found out.

Remote workers are often lonely.

There is something to be said about going into an office and seeing the same faces everyday. Working from home is often very isolating. There are few people to run your ideas by or even chat about that funny email you just got. In fact, Forbes reports that laughter in the workplace makes employees more productive.

Remote workers have a hard time getting things done.

While not only isolating, contrary to popular belief, it’s also hard to be productive when working remotely. When you collaborate on a project or try to solve an issue quickly, remote work presents new challenges. What is usually solved by turning around in your chair, might take over a day without that luxury. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. For technical writers, developers and the like, working alone is necessary to get into an intense focus mode this type of work often requires.

Remote workers are not necessarily more engaged.

For many businesses, offering flex time is a luxury provided in hopes of increasing employee engagement and retaining excellent employees. However, what often happens is that these employees, especially those who are full-time remote workers, fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy. For many, they feel forgotten by their employer who previously may have been a great mentor and resource to them. They miss out on these resources by simply not physically being around.

While there are clear benefits to offering flex time for employees, it’s also evident there are new challenges arising with this popular perk.

Does your business offer a work from home policy? What challenges or benefits have you seen with this implementation?

Technology and the Office: Not Just for Silicon Valley

technology office work perks perkspot culture

When we think of company culture, words like “employee engagement”, “recognition” and “opportunity for growth” come to mind. But where does Technology rank when it comes to our values as an organization or company, and how is this affecting our employees?

As the CHRO of cloud-based finance and HR software Workday, Ashley Goldsmith, eloquently states, “We’ve found that you can’t create a culture just through values, new processes, or an organizational restructure. Those things are necessary, but we like to think of values as the beating heart of culture, processes and organizational structure as the brain, and technology as the nervous system that makes sure heart and head are working together to move us forward.”

Technology improves communication flow.

Cloud-based systems, video-conferencing software, and the like are paving the way for smoother communication in the workplace. The bonus is that many of these applications have free versions available. These tools enable employees to work smarter, not harder.

Technology fosters feedback.

Similar to improving communication, we use technology at PerkSpot to develop more ways to generate feedback, both internally and externally. We use platforms that allow our employees to respond to customer service issues quickly and efficiently. Meanwhile, internally, we use a system to monitor everything from typos on our site to larger kinks that need attention. In this way, we spend less time dealing with issues and more time finding solutions.

Technology encourages collaboration.

Messaging applications are great for encouraging collaboration amongst employees. While many feel that this constant communication decreases productivity, studies show that even when coworkers drift away from the task at hand, laughter shared helps promote creativity and innovation.

In the same way that the body cannot function properly without the nervous system, our offices cannot survive without technology.

What are some ways you use technology in your workplace? Leave us a note in the comments!