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Best Practices For Optimizing Online Benefits Enrollment Systems

David Rook

There are countless online employee benefits enrollment systems out there today. While each is designed to make everyone’s lives easier — employees, employers, insurance carriers, payroll providers and benefits advisors alike, some don't quite live up to the hype.

While the initial transition from paper enrollment to any one of these online enrollment systems typically yields tremendous upside from an efficiency, speed and data integrity perspective, it's highly unusual for an enrollment system to be fully optimized for peak performance at first launch.

Tweaking and perfecting the system in the quest to maximize performance and outcomes should be an ongoing activity within your organization. Most agree that the goal of optimizing these systems is to make them as easy and intuitive as possible for your employees to use, while also guiding educated, informed and appropriate employee benefit decisions for your workforce.

Much of what’s considered “best practice” in online benefits enrollment has been adopted from best practices in eCommerce. After all, enrolling in benefits these days isn't that far off from purchasing something off Amazon, comparing cars at AutoTrader, or configuring a laptop at Dell.

While this list is by no means complete, here are some best practices you should consider adopting to optimize the configuration of your online benefits enrollment system for peak performance.

Capitalize on Nudge Theory 

While "nudge theory" won Richard Thaler a Nobel prize in economics, the concept is quite simple. It’s a subtle policy shift that encourages people to make decisions that are in their broad self-interest.

Put into practice, it simply means using "opt-out" as the default option for certain benefit selections. This requires someone to actively deselect an option. Failure to do so results in auto-enrollment in that benefit. A great example of nudging is pre-selecting a 3% contribution into an employee's 401(k) vs. leaving the field blank. This simple change will have a massive impact on 401(k) participation.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Automation, Decision Tools, Strategy, open enrollment

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5 TED Talks on Decision-Making and What They Mean for Employers

David Rook

Editor's Note: This post is a follow-up to one of our most popular blog posts, "3 Great TED Talks in The Era of Consumer-Driven Healthcare (CDHC)". This post features new Ted Talks for fans of our past article to enjoy.

When it comes to the decisions we make, it can sometimes feel like we are strangers in a strange land. Our motivations are often a mystery to us. But researchers in the world of behavioral economics are able to give us some insight into what informs our decision-making and why it often defies logic.

Over the years, there have been some incredibly useful TED Talks that can help us better understand the human mind and the motivations that drive our decisions. As an employer who must consider the decision-making process of your employees, you too can gain some important insights that can help guide you in creating more effective employee benefits packages.

Here are five TED Talks which we consider to be some of the very best on this subject:

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Consumer Driven Healthcare, Behavioral Psychology, Decision Tools

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