HR Insights
Quick Read
May 22, 2019

Four ways retailers can better navigate benefits eligibility for their workforce

With a workforce consisting of many types of workers, retail employers often find themselves navigating a web of benefits options offered and the complex requirements for benefits eligibility. Here are four ways companies can offer a consistent and fair employee benefits experience for their associates.

Table of Contents

One of the biggest compliance challenges retail employers face is managing benefits for their entire organization. Employers need to balance several priorities such as rolling out new benefit options, tracking employee eligibility for plans, and ensuring that the process is as seamless as possible. On top of this, retailers are focused on making their benefits packages appealing to their associates to help attract and retain their workforce.

Additionally, because retail workforces consist of a variety of employees – from corporate office workers to the frontline staff helping customers on the store floor – providing a consistent benefits experience while being mindful of all the various requirements that may apply to your workforce in different jurisdictions is a challenge.

The cost of the Employer Shared Responsibility

The ACA has shared responsibility provisions that apply to many retailers. If a retailer is subject to shared responsibility provisions, they must offer minimum essential coverage to full-time employees and dependents that is affordable and provides minimum value, or make a shared responsibility payment to the IRS.

Benefits and the employee experience

Employee benefits play an important role in attracting candidates to an organization, and help to support the employee experience. Employers that invest in the employee experience may experience increased engagement, retention, and overall job satisfaction. Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent report reveals that 30% of employees stay at their current jobs because of good job benefits, ahead of good pay at 29%.

A poor employee benefits experience is one that is inconsistent or unfair, and has the potential to negatively impact retention. Here are four ways employers can provide a consistent and seamless employee benefits experience:

1. Provide a personalized experience

A personalized benefits process helps an employee understand which plans they are eligible for and which ones best fit their specific needs. Artificial intelligence-enabled tools and software, such as benefits decision support, will help personalize the enrollment process allowing employers to set pre-defined eligibility qualifiers that present employees with the plans and options they’re qualified for, along with a personalized score of each available plan and how each best fits their needs.

2. Clearly communicate the benefits process and policies

Making benefits elections can be a complex, time-consuming, and frustrating process for employees. Make the benefits election process apparent and straightforward and provide resources so that employees understand what options they are eligible for. If you successfully execute on your plan, you may find that not only did employees make elections quicker, but that they will feel more confident about their decisions.

Related: Three ways to improve your open enrollment process this year

3. Automatically determine benefits eligibility

With a myriad of factors coming into play to determine benefits eligibility including hours worked, full-time or part-time status, plan classification, and more, it’s difficult to track each employee for compliance purposes. Retailers are using tools to help match employees with their eligible benefits.

4. Provide employees with greater control over their benefits

Eighty-one percent of employees that are given easy access to their benefits said they feel loyal to their employer, and 79% of employees say they are proud to work for their organization. Providing employees, the option to manage their own benefits with self-service allows them to make updates, add beneficiaries, and accommodate changing lifestyles on the go.

Employee benefits reflect the long-term investment employers are making to their people. However, to retain associates long-term, employers must work to provide a consistent, fair, and seamless benefits experience for their workforce. By also integrating specific compliance requirements into this effort, you may be able to deliver even more efficiencies to your organization.

Download the guide, Managing regulatory compliance in retail and hospitality to learn more about effectively managing compliance across scheduling, benefits, and payroll.

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