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Employee Benefits

Managing Change Towards a More Flexible Group Benefits Plan

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Many aspects of your business may have changed in the last few months, and there could still be more change on the horizon. One aspect you may be rethinking is the benefits you offer. Whether you were considering a more flexible group benefits plan before or not, you might be considering one now.

Managing change is key when it comes to adopting flexible group benefits. Keep these considerations in mind as you tackle a flexible group benefits plan.

Identify Why You’re Introducing the Plan

Communication is probably the most important aspect of any change management plan, and it’s the same when it comes to introducing new benefits plans.

Before adopting a flexible group benefits plan for your team, ask yourself why you’re implementing this plan.

Many HR leaders and business owners will say the budget is driving the adoption of more flexible options, but that’s often not the only reason. In many cases, the reason is that you want to offer your employees more freedom. Most employees today want to customize their plans to fit their needs better.

A flexible benefits plan allows you to offer options for every employee. The flexible plan can also change with them, serving an employee at any point in their lives. That’s good news for the multigenerational workplace, as your plan can serve needs across different age groups.

Communicate with Employees and Get Their Input

Communication doesn’t end when you tell your employees why you’re adopting a flexible plan for their benefits. You must communicate with them every step of the way.

Putting forth a flexible plan that works for everyone means asking employees for their feedback on their current benefits. Ask them what they like and if there are any they don’t often use. Ask them about what they’d like to see their benefits plan do.

It’s important not to overwhelm employees by offering too many options, so prepare for some back-and-forth on plan design. Too many options can make the plan unwieldy, but that means some benefits may be scaled back or not included at all. Staying in touch with your employees will democratize the process and ensure you’re offering options that the majority of your team wants.

Explain the Overall Benefits

Once you’ve finished designing the plan, it’s time to roll it out for your team. Be sure to take the time to explain coverage and options to everyone. You may also want to offer an information library, where they can check in to review the literature and ensure they’re making the right choices for their needs.

You should take some time to assist employees through the comparison and decision-making process. Employees might require your help understanding the difference between one tier and another, or they could require more support in selecting the options they need most.

Also offer training for any benefits self-management portal you plan to use. Self-serve benefits are increasingly popular, since they give the employee more control over when and how they use their benefits. Self-serve portals encourage use of benefits, in addition to streamlining the claims process.

Finally, be sure to explain coverage start and end dates, and how employees can make changes if they feel they have to revise their coverage.

Keep Revising the Plan

A flexible benefits plan should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure it’s still serving your employees. As your team changes, so too will their needs. Over time, the flexible plan may end up out of step with employees’ desires. It’s also possible that employees end up using a benefit much less than they thought they might, and it would be a good idea to swap something else in.

The process of change management is ongoing when it comes to more flexible group benefits plans, but good communication will help smooth the way forward.

 

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Darwyne Lang

Darwyne Lang

Darwyne is the president and CEO of Apri Insurance Services Inc. Having worked in the industry for over 30 years, he lives the benefits business every day. He is a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). He understand the needs, costs, misconceptions, and effects on brand and culture, and the importance of benefits for employees. No matter what he’s doing, whether for work or pleasure, Darwyne competes at a very high level. He loves to lead and innovate in everything he does.

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