September through January is benefits implementation season for many human resources personnel. It can be a lot of moving pieces all at once. However, the administrator you’re working with should help you decide which options will work best for your company and employees based on the needs you’ve expressed.
A “one-size fits all” approach doesn’t work for implementation. It is crucial that your administrator works to meet you where you are.
Follow these three steps to make sure things run as smoothly as possible.
1) Have a checklist
A checklist can be a powerful tool. During the implementation process, a checklist can keep you grounded in terms of priorities and deadlines. It is the first step to making sure you’re off to a good start.
Working with Benefit Resource, a sales representative or implementation specialist will go over a checklist of items with you. The checklist may include which high level documents your company needs to submit (e.g. plan funding forms) and what is needed for each of the individuals plans you are implementing.
Implementation is a heavily customized process. Although this may seem to add more complexity, it ultimately allows for more flexibility to meet the changing needs of your company.
2) Understand the deadlines
While “sooner rather than later” is a good rule of thumb, not every item on your implementation checklist needs to be submitted to your administrator ASAP. You have permission to breathe.
Again, using your checklist will help you understand the deadlines for each component in the process. Additionally, from plan funding and plan design options to takeovers and data exchanges, your Implementation Specialist will emphasize which items need attention first (and which ones have more wiggle room).
A best practice is to allow 8 to 10 weeks for all the pieces to fall into place.
3) Ask for clarification
Even if you follow steps one and two, there can still be pieces of the process that need to be revisited. It never hurts to ask for clarification.
For example, with data exchanges, you may want to ask “Will participants be enrolling in our system or the administrator’s system? What does that look like?” Comparing what’s needed for each system may be like comparing apples and oranges.
If there is a takeover, it is important to ask “Is the takeover different for each plan? What items are needed for the various take overs?” To learn more about what to expect during a takeover, read Five Questions to Implement a Pre-tax Benefit Plan.
And then go back to steps one and two to refine.
A smooth sailing ship
Implementation is a complicated process, but you have a whole team to help you through the waters. Even if there are a few waves that rock the benefits boat, you’ll make it out of the harbor.
Your journey starts with an Implementation Specialist, and then your account transfers to a day-to-day Client Services Specialist. Finally, you also have an Account Executive should you wish to discuss future account needs.