... and maybe, just maybe, you'll get it by next year.
It is almost open enrollment and, by default, about that time to be testing your online enrollment system. Chances are you've gotten in there and realized that, much to our dismay, most online enrollment sites are just not as intuitive or user-friendly as the Amazon/Facebook/Google online world we've become accustomed to.
There is such a disconnect between the mostly clunky HR systems online world (enrollment websites, HRIS systems, etc.) and the rest of the online world of super-personalized consumer, social media and gaming websites. Do employees tolerate this because they have to? Yes. Is it preventing them from being engaged in their benefits and enrollment decision-making? For sure.
It is long past due for most HR platforms to have a major face-lift. For years and years, many enrollment sites haven't even met basic usability standards. Now, social media, personalization and gaming (just to mention a few factors) have totally changed the game when it comes to the online experience, setting the bar even higher. Four out of five adults are using social media sites and mobile phone usage of the web is skyrocketing.
In the benefits world, we tend to think that if an employee isn't sitting in front of a desk at work all day that they don't have access to the internet. Not so, especially when you factor in mobile devices. In fact, mobile may prove to be a much more effective way to reach the "un-wired" workforce than websites ever could be. And, there is so much exciting work going on with mobile apps for health care. From monitoring diabetes to managing HIV/AIDS to fitness. Not to mention all the other amazing things you can do with an iPhone or Blackberry and a data plan. This is going to be the new standard and what your employees expect--seamless, ridiculously simple, fun, engaging and integrated both online and through mobile devices.
So, while you're in there testing your enrollment platform and making sure all your price tags are accurate, go ahead and tell your benefits administrator that it is time for a major upgrade to the user experience. Ask them for a mobile enrollment app too. Let their jaw drop before you add on "next year." And, then, keep asking until you get it!
By the way, do you have an online enrollment site that actually IS as intuitive as Amazon or Google? If so, please send it our way (pretty please!) and we'll show it off here!
Editor's Note - Jennifer Benz is founder and chief strategist at Benz Communications, a boutique consulting firm that focuses on employee benefits communication. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @jenbenz.