We all know that you only have one chance to make a good first impression—especially when you’ve just hired a new employee. And with the Great Resignation on everyone’s minds, that first impression has never been more important to impress and ultimately retain new talent.

Those first few days, weeks, and months can make or break an employee’s experience. During the early days of employment, employees are testing the waters to see if it’s a good fit. Is this somewhere they can see themselves working in the long-term? Do they feel valued and as though you truly want them to succeed? And is the ‘juice worth the squeeze?’

And now that many offices are working fully remotely or in a hybrid model, HR teams are adopting a virtual onboarding process to help them reach employees wherever they are, at a time that’s most convenient for them.

But overhauling your entire strategy sounds like a ton of work. Luckily, there are onboarding tools that can help. Let’s dig in.

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Why is employee onboarding so important?

This is the time when new employees are most enthusiastic and engaged. It’s prime time to explain policies and procedures and set staff on a path for success.

It’s also a prime opportunity to make sure employees understand and enroll in the right benefits. And that’s easier said than done:

  • 40% of employees don’t understand the benefits communications sent by their employer, healthcare vendor or insurance companies
  • 1 in 3 employees admit they’ve never taken action as a result of their employer’s benefits communications.

And all that confusion and lack of engagement adds up to a lot of waste for you: the employer. In fact, HR leaders say 53% of their healthcare spending is wasted due to employee confusion. So if you can stop the confusion before it happens, and set employees up for success as they’re onboarded, they’ll be primed to make smarter benefits decisions for years to come. That means happier, healthier employees, and money saved (for them and for you).

Why is employee onboarding so challenging?

Now that most of us are onboarding employees both virtually and in person, it often feels like our workload has doubled. (And double the work does NOT equal double the fun).

These days, onboarding tasks require the one thing that HR managers lack: time. This is especially true as companies ramp back up in the wake of COVID-19. The talent pool is bigger than ever before, and managers are always on the lookout for tools that can assist with benefits-related questions and make them more effective at hiring and retaining top talent.

What is employee onboarding software?

Employee onboarding software removes many administrative challenges associated with the employee onboarding process—including how employees learn about and choose their benefits. It can automate tasks, like explaining healthcare plans, showing employees which policies are the right fit for them personally, and driving employees towards spending and savings decisions that will help them make the most use of their benefits.

What are the benefits of using employee onboarding software?

Employee onboarding software eliminates confusion and stress.

Not surprisingly, 52% of employees say choosing their benefits is stressful.  That’s probably why one in four employees spend more than seven hours researching their benefits before making selections—time they’d probably rather spend on other things.

And because they’re so frustrated, employees are asking for your help. They know you have the answers they’re looking for, and one in five employees said they want more benefits education. They’re not getting what they need through traditional methods, and they don’t want to spend more time in meetings or reading benefits materials. They want a more targeted approach—to get the information they need in less time.

That’s where employee benefits software can come in handy. It breaks down your benefits offerings and complex plan designs into easily understandable terms, and offers personalized recommendations based on an employee’s own unique needs. 

The best part? It only takes about 15 minutes on average — a far cry from the 7+ hours employees spend doing research on their own. And after using employee benefits technology, 85% of employees better understand their benefits. That means happier, more satisfied employees, and a more efficient onboarding process overall.

Employee onboarding software helps employers save time.

It’s not surprising that you’re probably getting a lot of benefits-related questions from employees while they’re onboarding. Things are changing so rapidly during the pandemic, and employees want and need reassurance that they can make decisions with confidence. The good news is that employee benefits technology is updated frequently with new information, so you don’t have to worry about communicating the latest benefits guidelines. Plus, our customers tell us that employee benefits software reduces employee questions by up to 50%. 

Added features like Chat—an extension of your HR team—can also help save you time. That’s because seven out of 10 benefits are common and have straightforward answers. Chatbots can answer these questions consistently and with ease, helping you stay focused while also supporting employees 24/7.

Employee onboarding software reduces the cost of healthcare.

Unfortunately, 30%-50% of employees make the wrong health plan choice based on their unique needs, ultimately costing employers more than $1,700 per employee per year, according to Chad Wilkins, president of HSA Bank.

The solution? Employee onboarding software. While employers can’t control problems that exist within the healthcare system’s infrastructure, they can control how their employees engage with their benefits—which has a huge impact on an organization’s bottom line. 

For example, when employees understand how an HSA works, they may be more open to choosing a high deductible health plan, which in turn lowers your company’s monthly premiums. This is money that you can put back into your business, use to contribute to your employees’ HSAs, or both. Added bonus: when employers contribute money to their employees’ HSAs, 100% of those contributions are tax-deductible.

Here’s another example: When employees understand in-network vs. out-of-network providers, they can choose an in-network (lower cost) specialist or facility. The same is true for generic versus brand-name drugs. Employee benefits technology can help your employees capitalize on these lower costs and make smarter choices.

These are just a couple of examples of how employee benefits software can help reduce the cost of healthcare. This interactive software inquires about each employee’s financial situation and presents them with the options that are right for them based on their family needs, chronic conditions, and more.

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Can every company benefit from employee onboarding software?

Potentially, yes. What company wouldn’t want to cut down on paper costs and paper waste? Going digital with employee onboarding software accomplishes this. However, the software is especially helpful if the company is in a compliance-heavy industry where rules and regulations change frequently in the wake of COVID-19 (e.g., healthcare, education, or hospitality). Employee onboarding software can also benefit companies facing exponential growth (and thus having to manage the onboarding of hundreds or thousands of employees in a short amount of time). It can also benefit companies that tend to experience high turnover early on in an employee’s tenure. 

How can HR managers choose the right employee onboarding software? 

Managers need to think about the type of first impression they want to make. This will help inform necessary software features. Also consider integration—must the software integrate with other HR software? Of course, budget also plays a role. Managers will need to decide whether they’ll want a subscription-based solution or whether the company will pay per use, monthly, or annually. 

Employee onboarding software takes the headache out of the onboarding process. The result? HR managers can focus on exactly what new employees need to feel welcomed and to thrive in their new roles.

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