Part II: Deployment and Maintenance

In our quest to reduce manual benefits management Nelnet has decided to begin using the Vista HRMS Current Enrollment Wizard for our new hire benefits enrollment. This article will discuss our deployment and maintenance process.

Introducing the New Enrollment Process to Employees

The nice thing about updating a new hire process is that you can simply present the new process rather than retraining users. It’s important to make sure the process is presented consistently, though! We focused on making sure all our benefits enrollment communications and links were updated so the message was consistent for new hires. The bulk of our employee deployment was identifying all the places we referenced new hire benefits enrollment and updating them accordingly.

Nelnet has several ways of notifying our new hires how to complete their benefits enrollment. Our primary outreach includes a benefits introduction email one week after hire, a Vista New Hire launch page including a “First 30 Days” checklist, and our new hire orientation introduces our benefit options and how to enroll in them. Each of these communications, as well as other reference links, needed to be updated as we implemented our Current Enrollment Wizard.

Once in the Current Enrollment Wizard, the employee receives information on navigating the wizard and completing their elections.

Our new hire orientation demonstrates these steps for new employees as well. Finally, their Vista HRMS launch page has been updated to reference the online election tool rather than the Benefits Enrollment Form.

We also found we needed to phase out the use of and access to the Benefits Enrollment form. Because of our waiting period rules, we need a two phase approach. Starting in April, phase one was introducing the new process for our June eligible employees, while allowing access to the old process for our May eligible employees. So the first round of communication and link updates included information on both processes. Then after May 1st we were able to move to the second round of updates, which presented only the new process. In this second phase we were also able to deactivate access to the Benefits Enrollment Form. Be sure to account for any process overlap you may have during implementation.

Developing the New Maintenance Process for Administrators

As mentioned in Part I of this article, Nelnet decided to use the email notification option when an election is ready for review. We needed to determine what to do once we got that notification, though.

We identified the following requirements for our maintenance of the Current Enrollment Wizard:
– Ensure consistent review of the election information
– Generate enrollment documentation to be scanned to the employee record for auditing purposes
– Generate election summary to validate deductions on the first payroll after plan activation

Some “nice to have’s” were alerts for items not regulated by the plan setup or wizard configuration, like identifying employees electing more than the guaranteed amount for supplemental life insurance.

We addressed these requirements by building an election report and using the Vista “Current Benefit Elections Statement.”

When our benefits administrators receive notice that an election is ready for review, they run the election report.

The first section of the report contains alerts for items that require follow up or corrections. The second half of the report is a checklist of items to complete during the election review to ensure consistency.

Once the employee is moved to Active Status and Benefits Processing is run the benefits administrator runs the “Current Benefit Elections Statement.” This provides the rate information needed to validate deductions on the first payroll after the plans are active.

After payroll is complete, both the election report and “Current Benefit Elections Statement” are saved to the employee’s audit record.

We’ve had 80 successful completions of the Current Enrollment Wizard since it was implemented 04/02/2016. Thanks to the descriptions and constraints in the wizard, our correction alerts have been very minimal. Our benefits administrators estimate at least four hours of processing time saved for our June enrollments. The feedback from our employees and administrators has been extremely positive. So if you’re considering the Current Enrollment Wizard, don’t be afraid to give it a try!

Gretchen Schmidt
Payroll & Benefits Analyst