Moving up benefit enrollment dates with virtual enrollment

Webinar (July 1, 2020)

Many businesses are responding to the COVID-19 crisis by moving up their annual benefits enrollment dates and adopting virtual tools for benefits counseling, according to a recent SHRM webinar on benefits enrollment.

By moving up enrollment dates, these organizations are sending a clear message that employees’ wellbeing is essential during this health crisis, said Sharlyn Lauby, president of ITM Group and HR expert.
“Instead of two or three weeks to sign up for benefits, they’re expanding the window to a month or more, so employees have more time to think about their benefit options,” said Lauby.

Lauby and Richard Shaffer, senior vice president of Field & Market Development at Colonial Life were featured speakers at the SHRM webinar.

The ongoing health crisis has made employees acutely aware of their need for benefits. Fears and worries are at all-time high, and workers are wanting to engage in enrollment more this year than in previous years.

So while many businesses have cancelled in-person enrollment because of safety concerns, others have pivoted to virtual enrollment, which has opened up more opportunities for meaningful benefits counseling, explained Shaffer, senior vice president of Field & Market Development at Colonial Life.

Virtual tools such as Colonial Life co-browsing and video chat are safe and secure, which have also helped accelerate the adoption rate of virtual enrollment.

Remote work, telemedicine, virtual happy hours are just a few of the ways virtualization has become part of our everyday lives, which has also raised the comfort level of using virtual tools for benefits education.

“We’ve seen virtual benefits counseling can even rival the in-person experience,” said Shaffer.

Other topics Lauby and Shaffer covered included:

  • Why enrollment is critical this year
  • How enrollment can help alleviate workers fears
  • The pros for workers using virtual enrollment
  • Helping employees prepare mentally for virtual enrollment

To find out more about Shaffer and Lauby’s talk on benefits enrollment trends, watch the webinar.

About the speakers

Sharlyn Lauby headshot

Sharlyn Lauby

President, ITM Group Inc., author of HR Bartender

Sharlyn Lauby is the author of HR Bartender and president of ITM Group Inc., a Florida-based training and human resources consulting firm focused on helping companies retain and engage talent. Prior to starting ITM Group, Sharlyn was Vice President of Human Resources at Right Management Consultants, one of the world’s largest organizational consulting firms. She has designed and implemented highly successful programs for employee retention, internal and external customer satisfaction, and leadership development. Publications such as Reuters, The New York Times, ABC News, and The Wall Street Journal have sought out her expertise on topics related to human resources and the workplace. Sharlyn launched HR Bartender to provide a “friendly place for everyday workplace issues.” It’s been recognized as one of the Top 5 Business Blogs Read by HR Professionals by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). She is the author of the best-selling books “Manager Onboarding: 5 Steps for Setting New Leaders Up for Success” and “The Recruiter’s Handbook: How to Source, Select, and Engage the Best Talent.”
Richard Shaffer headshot

Richard Shaffer

Senior Vice President, Field and Market Development, Colonial Life

Richard Shaffer is the Senior Vice President of Field and Market Development for Colonial Life. He oversees corporate strategy and planning, business development and the teams leading the company’s enrollment, client management and retention programs. Richard has held various positions throughout his 22 years with the company. In his previous roles with Unum US, Richard was responsible for leading a benefits account management team, serving as a large employer group and voluntary benefits specialist, and leading innovation for Unum’s 2000+ employees customer segment. Prior to joining the company in 1998, he worked as a family therapist — his knowledge of family dynamics has helped his approach to employee benefits communication and enrollment. Richard holds a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from East Carolina University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from George Mason University.
Colonial Life products are underwritten by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, Columbia, SC. Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is not licensed in New York. In New York, insurance products are underwritten by The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company, Worcester, MA, and administered by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company.