February 5, 2018

The Power of Decision Support Tools

Written by
Ally Edwards
Tags: HR

One of the most important components of running a successful business is attracting, retaining, and engaging your most valuable asset- your people. While there are many ways to accomplish this, offering your people benefits that go beyond legal requirements is proving to be one of the most effective techniques.

In a Glassdoor survey, 60 percent of respondents reported that benefits packages play a major role on whether or not to accept or reject a job offer. However, knowledge is power, and 48 percent of workers don’t feel they understand their benefits plans, which ultimately leads to poor decisions.

Also Read: 5 Ways HR can Learn From Project Management

As five generations collide in today’s workforce, designing, deploying, and communicating benefit plans in a way that satisfies all of your people has become more complex. HR departments have used a combination of methods such as social media channels, emails, newsletters, and texting to communicate and educate their people, but with such a diverse workforce, many employees still go uninformed.

HR departments can now harness the power of decision support tools to assist and inform their employees and help them make the healthcare plan decisions that fit best with their lifestyle. Decision support tools are typically incorporated within an online open enrollment platform designed to help employees best understand their benefit needs and tolerance for risk when making benefit selections.

Why invest in decision support tools?

Investing in cutting edge technology that guides your people through the benefits selection processes doesn’t just take the pressure off of your people, but also your HR department. These tools free your HR department from fielding daily questions and explaining the many differences between plan options. This saved time can now be put towards strategically creating appealing benefits packages and exploring options that help to maximize resources.

What should I look for?

An ideal tool is interactive, intuitive, and translates complex language into more common terms that make it easy for the end user to comprehend. The overall goal is to reduce the time it takes to enroll and streamline the entire process for all parties involved, while providing education along the way. And these tools bring it all together in one, rather than splitting the education and the benefits administration between two different software tools: a learning management system and your HR software.

When it comes to choosing decision support tools, there are a plethora of options with various degrees of functionality. Here are the top 3 things you should keep an eye out for:

Plan Comparison Tool

A powerful tool that provides your people with a line-by-line analysis of what each plan includes and the variance of costs.

Total Cost Estimators

Before making a selection, supply your people with an estimated cost of plan coverage. This really helps your people best understand exactly what deductions are coming out of their paycheck, reducing the number of discrepancies and questions to your payroll team.

Integrated Carrier Feeds

A seamless integration with your benefit carrier feeds is a way to ensure any relevant updates get to insurance carriers quickly and accurately.

How do I encourage my people to use these tools?

Decision support tools are helping employees make better plan decisions. However, the technology on its own is not enough. It’s imperative that employees receive proper training on how to navigate the support tools to ensure maximum effectiveness. Empower your people by:

Offer a lunch-and-learn

Provide lunch and invite your employees to attend a session to learn how to take advantage of everything that the decision support tools have to offer.

Online resources

Your workforce is diverse and therefore consumes information in different ways. Supply your people with resources such as videos, screenshots, and step-by-step instructions.

Designated tablets or laptops

Have tablets or laptops readily available to encourage your people to streamline processes and improve the enrollment process.

Decision support tools are powerful and can supply your people with the knowledge they need to make the right choices while also reducing the number of mundane tasks associated with enrollment your HR department is forced to perform. Show you care about your people and their dependents by empowering them with best-in-class tools to make smart health and financial decisions.

Ally Edwards is the Marketing Guru at PeopleGuru, a provider of cloud-based Human Capital Management software for mid-market organizations.

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