Peggy Halverson is a Manager in Professional Services for the Infor line of business and is responsible for managing Velocity's functional consultants serving Lawson S3 customers. Her background includes more than 25 years of progressive experience in every functional area of Human Resources with 20 years implementing and supporting Lawson S3 applications.
 
That time of year is approaching…school supplies are on sale, the longest days of summer have passed, day light savings is right around the corner, so you know what that means:  it’s almost Benefits Open Enrollment time!   It is certainly time to begin thinking about and planning for it.  For most Benefits Administrators and Human Resources professionals, this can be a busy, stressful time of year. Especially as new regulations and changes happen every year. 
 
Open Enrollment is an opportunity to reach out to employees and to help them make informed decisions about their benefits.  This is not always easy to do, as in our busy work lives, we sometimes struggle just to keep up with regular demands.  All that comes with the open enrollment process – communications, plan changes, system changes, questions, follow up, reminders, etc. – add more and more to our already hectic work day.  So, it makes it more important than ever to prepare early!
 
With all that in mind, below are some best practices regarding both the Open Enrollment process and the Infor Lawson system that can help ease your burden:
 
Open Enrollment Process
  • Develop a project plan.  You know what they say, “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”.  Your project plan should begin with a clear statement of what you're trying to accomplish.  It should also include timelines, deadlines, and assignments that make it clear who's accountable for what.  Details matter, so be sure to get into each and every important task.
  • Start enrollment communications early and send multiple reminders.  Provide consistent messaging and clear requirements.  Consider and use all the various communication options at your disposal - print, videos, webinars, online portals, intranet, text,  group meetings, and one-on-one counseling.  Make sure to clearly communicate changes and actions required.  Communications should be simple and direct regarding critical actions needed.  Keep in mind, employees are not paying as close attention to Open Enrollment as you are, so plan on communicating in short, frequent bursts. This is particularly true if you're introducing something new.
  • Provide an automated system for enrollment.  Recent studies show there is a savings of almost 80% in the cost of online self-service enrollment as opposed to HR staff manually enrolling.  Web-enabled enrollment reduces call volumes to HR and saves time for benefits staff by eliminating duplicate data entry, which also improves data accuracy and employee satisfaction.  Employees should have access to a benefits summary for current enrollments and the ability to perform “what if” modeling to see the results of various benefit choices.  
Infor Lawson System
Automated system for enrollment, you say?  That brings us to Infor Lawson.  As with the annual enrollment process, the supporting systems need to be updated to accommodate the changes as well.  Listed below are some considerations for preparing Lawson for your open enrollment process:
 
Develop a project plan.   Again, ensure that your project plan details all the steps related to Lawson, including the screens to update, both in core benefit plans and in Employee Self Service.  All applicable dates and time frames should be defined.  Questions you should ask include:
  • When is the enrollment period?
  • When do benefits become effective?
Allow for plenty of testing.  The more thoroughly you test, the easier the enrollment process will be for both you and your employees.   Enough time should be allowed for multiple rounds of testing.  Scenarios should be developed to test all possible choices like dependent changes, options changes or stops, waive plans, etc.   
 
Consider all Lawson set up forms.  There is set up in both core Lawson as well as Employee Self-Service to consider:
 
Core Lawson 
  • Coverage Options 
  • Contribution Rates
  • Rate Tables (Remember to update rate tables for ALL coverage levels)
  • Options Tables
Employee Self Service 
  • Benefit Enrollment Rules
  • Benefit Plan Groups
  • Annual Enrollment Rules
  • Number of Dependents
  • Benefit Cycle Rules
Keep in mind that above all, Open Enrollment is an excellent opportunity to communicate with and empower your employees.   Make this year’s enrollment period a positive experience for all by planning early and testing thoroughly.