3 Tips for Managing Employee Benefits in a Remote World

As Bob Dylan famously once crooned, the times they are a-changin’. COVID-19 has forced many companies to shift to a work-from-home model. In fact, two-thirds of U.S. businesses have adopted work from home policies and expect to leave these policies in place for the foreseeable future, or forever. 

For HR managers, the shift to remote work has uncovered a host of new challenges. From productivity management to creating systems of accountability and transparency, HR managers are now being asked to rewrite the rules of work. 

And then there’s benefits management. Without in-person contact with employees, how can benefits managers increase employee participation in their plan? And how do benefits managers remotely manage employee happiness and retention?

Here are three tips for managing employee benefits in a remote world and how Otherhood can help.  

Expand employee access to benefits information 

Even before companies shifted to remote work, employee access to benefits managers was challenging. Not because benefits managers were inaccessible to employees, but because they seemed inaccessible. 

The truth is many employees don’t understand the finer details of their benefits. Words like vesting, match, co-pay, and pretax contribution all sound like Greek to the average employee. It’s no wonder employees are intimidated by one on one conversations with their benefits manager. 

With the change to working remotely, access to benefits managers is even more complicated. Now, employees need to rely on email to get their benefits questions answered. If just talking about benefits is hard for employees, reading about them is nearly impossible. 

Otherhood bridges the information gaps between employees and their benefits managers through the employee portal. Our portal provides an easy way for your employees to access and manage their pre-tax benefits from any device — all in plain English. 

Through the portal, employees can track their ongoing progress and make changes to their benefits plan. If an employee experiences a significant life change, our customized savings plan helps employees update their benefits, providing employees with immediate answers to their most pressing benefits questions. 

Automate tasks (and focus more time on employee happiness)

Poring over spreadsheets, tracking employee benefit usage, and emailing back and forth to clarify employee questions is a black hole of lost time. For HR managers, these kinds of manual tasks eat up the time and energy needed to focus on the human aspect of their job: making sure employees are happy. 

Remote work has prompted many industries to turn to cloud-based software solutions, including HR. HR managers are now asking how cloud-software can make their jobs more efficient and free up more of their time. For example, can Otherhood:

Otherhood was built to empower HR leaders to manage their employees’ pre-tax savings plans remotely. We enable benefit managers to monitor participation rates by department, seniority, or individual. Our graphs and charts show the big picture of employee participation, and you can drill down into rates by department, seniority, or individual. 

Our platform also includes digital onboarding, employee and team chat, integrated to-do lists, and document sharing - all of which help benefits managers recover more of their time.  

Our goal is to make the easy stuff actually easy so that you can put your energy where it matters: retaining employees. 

Help employees become financially literate 

In a remote world, gauging employee happiness is tricky. You don’t have the luxury of popping by their desk to see how they’re doing or pulling them aside for a quick chat. In addition to staying on top of their regular work, employees have to learn new ways of working and develop new routines. That can be frustrating. 

HR’s job is to make sure employees feel happy, comfortable, and financially secure. But with mounds of paperwork and tedious tasks in the way, benefits managers have less time to engage with employees on a one on one basis. 

When benefits managers lose that person to person connection, they also lose their capacity to measure employee happiness...and retention. 

Otherhood’s platform makes it easy for benefits managers to communicate with employees, either directly through chat or by sharing educational material with the employee. Many employees don’t understand the ins-and-outs of essential topics like personal finance, financial wellness, budgeting, investing, and planning. 

Increasing an employee’s financial literacy not only increases their engagement in their benefits plan, but it also increases the perceived value of their benefits package. When employees are anchored in an employer-sponsored long term savings plan, they feel happier, and like the company is invested in their future.  In turn, employees are more invested in the company. 

Otherhood is committed to super powering benefits managers to encourage employee participation in healthcare, retirement, and education plans. Learn more or request a demo here

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