Preparing for open enrollment? Don’t forget to prepare your ESS
Open enrollment is probably already weighing heavy on your mind. As you work through the many things you need to prepare before the end of the year, don’t forget to review your Lawson Employee Self Service (ESS).
Reviewing Lawson ESS Setup before Open Enrollment
Just as you review all the various benefits packages you offer your employees, you want to spend some time prior to Open Enrollment reviewing that same information within your ESS system to ensure everything that you offer is configured correctly.
The last thing you want is an employee accidentally signing up for a benefit you no longer offer — which means it’s critical that you review the system before open enrollment begins.
So, what should you review?
- Healthcare plans offered — make sure that these are all correctly updated in your system.
- Customizations by group that affect which plans are seen by which employees — after all, if an employee can’t choose a benefits plan, he probably doesn’t need to look at it and you definitely don’t want him to accidentally select it.
- Any instructions or pop-up boxes that guide employees through the process — after all, if you’ve changed other aspects of your system over the last year, these may now be out of date or confusing.
- Wellness program updates — these are even more likely to change than other pieces of your benefits package, so don’t overlook them. Employees who don’t understand their wellness program options are unlikely to use them!
- Notifications – Review all of these from the previous year to ensure the details are still accurate and, if nothing else, you’ll likely need to update a few dates or details in each.
The system is extremely customizable, so while the above bullets are a good place to start, don’t stop there. Make sure to do a careful review of any other customizations you have built in and do a few test runs to ensure everything is working as it should.
Common ESS Modifications to Consider
While reviewing the system is also a good time to consider whether there are any new features or functions you want to add to your Lawson ESS before Open Enrollment begins.
If you initially rolled out Lawson in a minimal way, for review purposes only (for example, if you have previously limited the system to offer paper form downloads that are turned in manually), now is a good time to update the system and implement ESS more fully.
If you already have ESS fully implemented, consider adding additional customization or setting up some of the new features available in the latest versions. For example, last December Lawson released a new feature that allows you to link your HSA options to your HDHPs; this prevents employees signing up for plans that don’t offer an HSA from even seeing it as an option.
You may also want to add new announcement functionality, allowing HR to use the system as a communication tool and change text on the fly. Another common customization that’s helpful to implement prior to open enrollment, if it’s not currently set up, is the automated notification system.
ESS can handle processes for approvals and notifications; for example, it can be setup to send reminders so that those employees who are late to fill out their paperwork receive an email notification to let them know they haven’t filled it out yet.
Other options that might be useful include:
- Set the system up so that employees select tobacco usage before choosing a health plan, so that rates shown include any surcharge or difference in rate based on this.
- Ask employees about life events that might affect their coverage choices. The system can even be setup to disallow employees to change their name or add a dependent until they submit the proper documentation to HR, and to automatically send a notification to HR that the documentation is required and to the employee explaining what documentation is needed and the proper way to submit it.
- Show PTO accrual, including any notifications about what will carry over into the new year and what will qualify as “use it or lose it.”
- Add videos or Frequently Asked Questions pages, with additional information for employees.
- Design and implement custom ProcessFlow (IPA) options, so that employees receive a confirmation once they’ve successfully enrolled in benefits.
And these are really just the start — the system is flexible enough that if you can think of something you’d like to include, there’s a good chance that it can be accomplished.
Have an idea and want to chat with a consultant to see if it’s possible? Contact us today.