Open enrollment is probably already weighing heavily on your mind, as are year-end responsibilities. But did you know that only 49% of employees surveyed by the Guardian Insurance Company understood their benefits?

To make this time of year easier for you (and on your employees), we at Surety Systems had one of our senior-level Workday consultants put together a list of areas companies tend to have trouble with annually when it comes to Workday open enrollment. Focus on these topics, and you’ll be ahead of the curve.

Open Enrollment in Workday

When it comes to open enrollment, companies using Workday will find that there are some actions that need to be performed year after year, like clockwork. These include:

Rate Tables
When a new benefit plan year is defined, benefit plans and their rates become tied to that plan year. So even if an organization isn’t changing vendors, there will always be a new rate table in the upcoming plan year (medical/dental/vision, or supplemental life insurance, for example).

Help Screens
Companies need to write new help screens that have links to complete plan descriptions (the “Summary Plan Document” or “SPD”) and user guides and embed them in the Open Enrollment screens. (There’s no use in going over all the new plan descriptions to make sure everything is correct if the help screens link to the wrong place, after all.)

Everything related to benefit elections needs to be re-tested under the Open Enrollment event, including seeing how the help text looks and that any links to other documents actually work. Are the next-period enrollments active or passive—that is, do they roll over from the existing elections without action by the employee? It’s far better to find and fix errors before sending them out to the whole company.

Open Enrollment is a “push” action—a pending action is programmatically pushed to each eligible employee to sit in the employee’s Workday inbox of things to take action on. Clients new to Workday won’t have experienced that before or know the reports related to OE and both Benefit Administrators and End Users need training rolled out.

Special Circumstances

While the tasks mentioned above need to be performed every year without fail, there are a few other Workday open enrollment tasks which only need to be performed under special circumstances. These include:

New Plans, Same Provider
If your company will be offering new plans with the same provider, (a new PPO or HMO, for example), then those entirely new benefit plans need to be created and linked to the new benefit plan year. After all, if your company has gone to the trouble of offering new plans to its employees, you’ll want them to be able to find those benefits!

New Provider
If the organization is switching to a new benefits provider, (as an example, moving medical from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to Aetna), it’s likely a new Workday benefits integration will be required.

Year End

When it comes to other year-end tasks, the list isn’t quite as long as our Open Enrollment checklist. Still, there are a few things you’re going to want to keep in mind during the end-of-the-year rush. The biggest issue Surety’s Workday consultants see (that clients need help with every year) is W-2s.

As year-end approaches, make sure that you generate W-2s from Workday Payroll. Remember, the IRS requires W-2 forms to be mailed out to employees by no later than January 31 for forms derived from the previous calendar year. This deadline also applies to certain types of 1099-MISC forms, including payments to independent contractors, so don’t forget about those.

If this is your first fiscal year on Workday Financials, you’ll be closing out the books on your legacy system while ramping up Workday. We have talent you can draw upon to smooth out this spike in workload during a hectic time for your accountants, finance professionals, and legacy support staff.

Special note: If your company moved to Workday Payroll on April 1st, July 1st, or October 1st, you will need to create a one-time extraordinary W-2 that combines both the taxes paid under the old payroll system with the taxes paid under Workday. It’s a bit of a complicated process, there’s no rehearsal, and there’s no “re-do” if there are mistakes!

As open enrollment and year-end approaches, you may find yourself in need of a little help to get everything wrapped up as it should be, as you may need one or more new benefit integrations. You already have quite the crush on your hands, and tricky financial and healthcare situations can eat up even more of your time. Luckily for you, Surety has a large network of senior-level Workday consultants who can lend a hand and make sure benefits, payroll, and everything else is shipshape.