Monday, November 17, 2008

Open Enrollment is Finally Over!

Each year, for a human resources person, open enrollment is definitely a 'qualifying event.' We spend months preparing for the deployment of such a task and we hold our breath and wait anxiously as we help that first person to see if it really works.

I work at a steel mill, so I think our employee population in itself provides interesting challenges when completing ONLINE open enrollment. Our average age of employee is probably somewhere in the 40's, and seeing as though they are definite blue collar workers, I don't presume that many of them go home after 8 plus hours here to fidgit with a computer. Not to mention, I held 6 open enrollment meetings to explain the changes, and for those who chose to come, I don't think they listened to me - and all others are working off of here say.

Initially I thought it a novel idea to 'empower' our employees and talk them through the computer enrollment process. Joke. I think after the 15th person told me they had not touched a computer since last year's open enrollment I cried uncle and sat in for each person needing to make changes. So my process has been 1) send login and password to local IT to have it reset - check (it would make too much sense for these to be reset in the initial stages and a master list provided to HR. We'd rather go 1 by 1), 2) log employee onto benefit system - check, 3) Talk employee through current benefits and explain all of the differences that were explained in the open enrollment meeting - double check, 4) Then provide a final review of their enrollment as well as a print out that I offered for them to take home to their spouses to ensure the benefits were selected correctly - check, again!

Needless to say, I am thrilled that this period is coming to a close. This one man open enrollment team (with the help of local IT and sparse help from my boss) is packing up her bags until 2010 where I will pray that we make no changes. I promise the changes that we make are not cost efficient with all of the work that goes into explaining them and selecting them in the system.

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