United Stationers: An Open Enrollment Success Story

June 4, 2012      By Ultimate Software

Back in March, I wrote on the importance of choosing the right benefits and how providing decision support to employees is critical. In my role at Ultimate, I speak with many Ultimate Software open enrollment customers to better understand how they are leveraging UltiPro’s benefits enrollment solution to streamline benefits administration and help employees make informed benefits decisions.

Many customers do a great job of leveraging their open enrollment solution—and I wanted to share one example of a true benefits enrollment process best practice from our customer, United Stationers. United Stationers is a leading North American wholesale distributor of business products that has found tremendous success with UltiPro for open enrollment. They’ve not only achieved quick adoption of the solution, but through effectively communicating and educating on available benefits, they’re helping those employees make smart and informed benefits decisions.

How did they do this? Let’s take a step back.

With almost 6,000 employees, 64 distribution facilities, 24-hour operations, and a workforce with limited computer knowledge/access (only a small percentage have company emails), United Stationers was faced with many challenges. These challenges included:

  • How to efficiently administer employee benefits to such a large, dispersed and diverse workforce?
  • How to ensure that they’re effectively communicating and educating employees on all the benefits being offered?
  • How to provide employees with the tools they need to make informed benefits decisions?

After years of using a phone-based open enrollment process, United Stationers took the plunge and conducted their first online open enrollment in 2011. Remarkably, within the first year they were able to achieve a 94% employee completion rate. These amazing results were achieved by:

  • Planning early – United Stationers started planning their implementation, communications and training materials 3-6 months in advance
  • Communicating over various channels – mailings were sent to associates homes, a Sharepoint site was set up as well as an UltiPro Welcome Page Gadget
  • Providing tools that easily explain benefit plans and changes – United Stationers offered kiosks for their associates to leverage the online solution and prepared easy-to-use & accessible training materials – all with consistent messaging
  • Being available to employees for questions and support – because questions were inevitable they held open forum Q&A sessions, built step-by-step guides, trained HR Services, and created a special email box for annual enrollment questions.
  • Leveraging the capabilities of their online open enrollment solution to the fullest – through UltiPro’s robust messaging capabilities, they were able to include session information, benefit plan information, education and comparison tools – basically everything their people needed to make informed benefits decisions.

There are many organizations like United Stationers. Organizations with progressive thoughts around how to administer, communicate and roll out important employee benefits information but with a disbursed, offline workforce. If you want to streamline benefits administration and enable employees to make informed benefits decision, do what United Stationers did. Start planning early, engage your people through various channels. and take full advantage of your solutions capabilities.

Because if you truly want to put your people first it is imperative that you prove it through a great benefits experience.


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