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Here’s a look at common missteps —and how to correct them

By Joseph D. Moschitto, President, JDM Benefits

HR, and employee benefits, is a complex industry. From reams of paperwork to lengthy policies and procedures to ever-evolving regulations, there’s a great deal to stay on top of. And when a company falls behind, the consequences can be painful — employees and the bottom line both suffer.

At JDM Benefits, we work with you to ensure you’re not only meeting, but exceeding your employee benefits goals. In that spirit, we’re sharing a list of five common — and consequential — missteps many businesses make, big and small. And, we’re sharing advice on how to fix them quickly.

Not auditing monthly premium invoices.

Poring over premium invoices once a month might seem like an optional task, but it’s just the opposite. Often, a former employee or COBRA participant will remain covered when they no longer should be. The result? Employers paying unnecessary costs. To make matters worse: Many times, an employer will discover this mistake after several months have elapsed — and insurance carriers are unwilling to reimburse any costs past 30-60 days. To avoid this pricey blunder, ensure you’re reviewing premium invoices each month like clockwork, and making all necessary updates as soon as possible.

Not submitting new enrollment paperwork in a timely fashion.

When bringing on new staff, employers have 30 days after the eligibility period to submit benefits enrollment to the insurance carrier. Anything beyond 30 days, and carriers are generally not flexible. If you miss this window and the carrier rejects the enrollment, your new employee will have to wait until the next open enrollment period to gain coverage — often times a period of several months. To avoid this mistake — and very unhappy employees — make sure to prioritize enrollment whenever you hire new staff.

Mismanaging payroll deductions.

Most companies require employee contributions to participate in benefits plans. These contributions are usually deducted from employees’ regular paychecks. When employers don’t set these contributions up correctly with the payroll company — say, they withhold too little or too much, or put down pre-tax instead of post-tax — it can cost the employer and employee alike. Pay close attention to ensure you’re deducting the precise amount from your employees’ paychecks.

Using paper.

In the realm of HR, using paper is an outdated system. It takes up more space, can more easily be lost, and is more prone to error. Your company should be using digital tools and all the benefits that come with them. Today’s HR software is incredibly advanced, and can make the HR process more time efficient and effective, providing additional safeguards to protect against the three first mistakes noted above. Feel free to download our most recent White Paper on The Importance of HR Technology.

 Not keeping benefits competitive.

The benefits landscape is always shifting — a perk that was nonexistent just a few years ago may now be ubiquitous. To reduce turnover and attract talented new employees, research what similar companies in your industry are offering. You should be up-to-date on the industry norms for PTO, employee benefits, and other perks, like gym membership subsidies. Alternatively, take a look at the existing benefits you offer and see if employees are taking advantage of all them. If some are unpopular or unused, it may be time to retire that perk and invest those resources elsewhere.

These are just a handful of the many missteps HR departments can make, yet each one can have a ripple effect, negatively impacting employee morale and the company’s bottom line. To learn more about the mistakes you may be making — and how to correct them and develop a world-class HR department — reach out to JDM Benefits today.

Joseph D. Moschitto