LaDonna Steinert and Charity Roel are part of a three-person total rewards team for the University of Wisconsin Credit Union in Madison, Wisconsin, a financial institution with 250,000 members, $2.7 billion in assets, and a growing employee population of 740.

Thanks to steady growth and important changes to the organization’s health insurance and retirement savings plans, UW Credit Union was looking for some benefits decision support
help. Fortunately, LaDonna and Charity had been hearing good things about ALEX for years, and it wasn’t long before he became an integral member of the UW Credit Union total rewards team.

We recently talked to LaDonna and Charity about their experiences with ALEX over the past few
years. Here’s what they said.

ALEX has been a huge time-saver 

“Over the past three years our organization has grown by nearly 250 employees, but our total rewards staff has remained the same. There are only three of us who work primarily on total rewards, and we wouldn’t have been able to serve the needs of our staff if we didn’t have ALEX at our disposal. 

As our organization grows, our capacity for helping employees one-on-one diminishes. We just don’t have as much time as we used to when we were smaller, so we count on ALEX to have those initial benefits conversations with employees so they can get the information they need.  

Because ALEX provides such a good baseline education, we haven’t had to have as many benefits meetings. We’ve also noticed that when employees do come to us to talk about problems in person, their questions are way more thoughtful. They don’t need to ask things like, “What’s a copay?” anymore because ALEX already walks them through that. They come to us now with some basic knowledge.”

ALEX makes employee engagement in the age of COVID-19 very simple

“We’ve been challenged in so many other areas from a pandemic standpoint. But ALEX has been one area where I didn’t have to worry about anything. We may not be staffing at the levels that we were a few months ago, but we still have to hire new employees and bring them onboard. While others have had to reimagine the entire onboarding experience because of the pandemic, ALEX has already given us a proven “set-it-and-forget-it” plan. 

Honestly, it’s been a huge help from the get-go because so much of our benefits information is housed on our intranet. And until recently, most of our employees haven’t had access to that outside of work. And so the fact that ALEX was this place that people could access whether they were at work or at home was a huge help. 

Also, with ALEX introducing new hires to our benefit offerings we can focus our efforts on more strategic work. And even though we don’t have the staff available to handhold new hires through the benefits orientation experience, these employees aren’t asking for that level of help. It’s just not needed, which is a testament of what ALEX is doing for our organization and for our team.”

ALEX helped drive HDHP enrollment far beyond our expectations

“We didn’t start talking to Jellyvision until after the roll out of our high deductible plans, but we did get ALEX in place for the start of the next year’s open enrollment period. We were looking for a resource to help educate our employees on the benefits of having that additional savings account (in the form of the HSA) from a health savings standpoint, and how they could utilize that account in the entirety of their financial planning. 

Our goal was to increase HDHP enrollment by 10%. We introduced ALEX at our benefits fair and really pushed employees to go speak with him because he was a new part of our team. 

Along with some adjustments we made to how the account and insurance premiums were set up, ALEX helped us more than double our enrollment numbers from the first year, increasing enrollment by 119%. So you could say we well exceeded our goal of 10%…. 

ALEX also continued to help in its second year. Along with the turning of a few behind-the-scenes levers here and there, we used ALEX to increase the high deductible participation by an additional 68% over the previous year.”

ALEX also helped motivate more employees to meet our 401(k) match

“We just love how ALEX’s retirement savings module is set up because it makes it so easy for our employees to find and use the content. Pretty much all of our employees are eligible for our 401(k) plan, so we appreciate how easy it is to direct people who may not be eligible for other benefits straight to the retirement savings information that they need. 

We’ve also had success with ALEX’s educational features. We used to have a problem where a large group of employees (nearly 30% of our benefits-eligible population at the time) were missing out on a really impressive 401(k) match because they were setting their contribution levels according to the rules of an older program. 

Thanks to the educational tools available through ALEX, we managed to convince a large portion of that population (all but 25 individuals from an initial 150) to increase their contributions so they could meet the match. Now they get more from the organization and are better positioned for retirement.”